GREEN BROOK, NJ - The Green Brook Township Board of Education voted to outsource busing in the township at a special meeting of the board on Monday night at Green Brook Middle School.
The two bids approved are with Kensington Bus Company and Student Transportation of America. The board also approved to rescind the offer of contract for the named non-tenured GBEA bus drivers and aides for the 2017-2018 school year.
The district currently offers courtesy busing in district owned school buses, however, the buses will need to be replaced within the next three years.
Superintendent Kevin Carroll said that the outsourcing of busing will result in more than $1 million in cost avoidance over the next three years. The district may propose leasing or selling the existing Green Brook fleet to the bus companies, auction them off, or keep at least some of them to do late bus runs from Watchung Hills, field trips and inter school runs, Carroll said.
The public hearing and BOE adoption of final budget was held on April 24. The Green Brook Township Board of Education has the ability to use banked cap in the general fund tax levy to balance the 2017-2018 budget; and the Board approved using $426,860 from 2014-2015 and $78,026 from 2015-2016 in banked cap in order to balance the general fund for the 2017-2018 budget of $25,590,371, maintain existing programs, implement mandated programs, and remain in alignment with the district’s strategic plan.
Green Brook is responsible for the education and transportation needs of more than 1300 students in grades K-12 but can only control expenses for K-8 as high school students pay tuition in a send receive agreement with Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren.
Board members voiced their commitment first to the education of the children. In balancing the district's budget, they looked at ways to save money without affecting education and existing programs and at a prior meeting voted to go out to bid for busing contractors.
Parents in the audience expressed concerns about losing the district bus drivers and aides that have known them and their children for many years and going to the unknown. "What do you know about these new bus drivers?" was a common theme.
At the prior meeting of the board, Carroll and Business Administrator Heather Spitzer both explained that the proposed vendors would be held to the same standards as the current district drivers and aides, including HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying) training.
For those interested in running for the Board of Education, see the “Candidate Kit” linked below.
Board of Education
(Year denotes when term is up)
John Brault (2017)
Darlene Connors (2017)
Lisa Couch (2018), Vice President
Arthur Goodman (2019)
Maria Piccirilli (2017)
Bruce Martins (2018), President
Janine Potter (2019)
Lawrence Shaw (2019)
Wilton Thomas-Hooke (2018)
Kevin J. Carroll, Superintendent
Heather A. Spitzer, Business Administrator / Board Secretary
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