Brockton Public Schools recently received a delivery of its first school buses as the district prepares to bring the majority of its transportation services in-house for the 2021-2022 school year.
During years of financial crises, the cost of transportation continued to steadily increase. By bringing transportation in-house, city and district leaders believe they will be able to significantly reduce costs while also bringing jobs to the city. Bringing transportation in-house will save the city $500,000 during FY2022 and up to $2 million in the years that follow.
The district purchased 10 full-size school buses with air conditioning, 45 29-passenger half-size buses, seven half-size wheelchair accessible buses, and two 35-passenger half-size buses. The purchase of the 64 vehicles cost $5.4 million and comes after months of discussion and votes by both the Brockton School Committee and the City Council.
"After years of relentless budget cuts, we know the importance of stretching every dollar and making sure we are using taxpayer funds in the most responsible way possible," said Brockton Public Schools Superintendent Michael P. Thomas. "Thanks to the extensive research of Brockton Public Schools CFO Aldo Petronio, BPS Executive Director of Operations Dr. James Cobbs, and City CFO Troy Clarkson, we determined that bringing our transportation in-house would result in considerable year-over-year savings for the City of Brockton. I am grateful to the Mayor, School Committee and City Council for their willingness to innovate."
As of the 2020-2021 school year, Brockton worked with 75 different providers to transport BPS students and local charter school, private school and vocational school students. While some of the district’s transportation needs will continue to be filled by outside vendors, the district intends to grow its Transportation Department each year.
Transportation costs are covered by what is known as “Non-Net Spending” in the district’s annual budget. Non-Net Spending is covered by the City of Brockton, whereas the “Net Spending” portion of the district’s budget is covered by a combination of city, state and federal funds. The FY2022 budget for Non-Net Spending is $14.4 million.
The district is hiring 82 employees, including 75 bus drivers and two mechanics, who will oversee the extensive operation.
“The bus drivers, mechanics and dispatch staff will be full-time city employees and will have full benefits, such as dental, health insurance and a pension. Following more than a year of financial uncertainty for many families, we are thrilled to be able to add to our team and bring more good union jobs to the City of Brockton,” said Mayor Robert F. Sullivan.
“If leading a city and a school district through years of tough budget seasons and the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we need to be willing to think differently. The new BPS Transportation Department is a perfect example of how the Mayor’s Office, School Committee and City Council work together to move our city forward,” said Mark D’Agostino, Vice Chair of the School Committee.
Anyone interested in applying to be a bus driver or mechanic is encouraged to visit SchoolSpring.com. Those hired for these newly created positions must establish residency in Brockton within one year of employment.