Durham School Services has been the district’s transportation provider since the 2001-02 school year. The service was awarded a five-year contract that ran from 2017-18 to the 2021-22 school year, with an option to renew each year for the next five years, said Jason Bird, the district’s deputy superintendent of business, operations, accountability and technology.
Durham School Services provides buses for MISD and manages the district’s regular routes as well as special education routes to transport more than 10,000 students.
“I cannot recommend Durham any more strongly,” Bird told board members. “They are a great partner with MISD.”
Durham will provide services for a daily rate of $326.16 for a contractor-owned bus, according to meeting documents. Bird said while there might be cheaper options available, the quality of service would not be up to the standards the MISD community has grown to expect. Board members agreed.
“We don’t have complaints from parents; we don’t have children left on the buses and delivered to the wrong places,” Board Member Lynn Sperry said. “They must be doing their job really, really well.”
MISD is in the process of purchasing its own fleet of buses per the 2021 bond program, which allotted $12 million for the purchase of buses. Bird said Durham has done an “amazing job” working with MISD through this transition.
The district will start using its new buses as soon as they arrive, although no date has yet been set, Bird said. The buses are on order and Bird said he hopes MISD will start receiving its buses before Christmas.
When MISD starts using its own buses, it will save the district about $50 a day per bus, board President Amy Denkel said.
“That’s a substantial savings for the district,” Bird said.