Meridian to outsource school bus operations

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - The West Ada School District held a special meeting to decide on out-sourcing its bus service after hearing public opinion Monday. The board went back and forth on what to do. "We'd be putting off the inevitable. We've already tried, we've already done it, we've already reduced routes, reduced stops," said board member Mike Vuittonet.

"You are again going to make Idaho the lowest paid wages in the country and I am vehemently opposed to that," said board member Carol Sayles.

Board members say they couldn't turn down the possibility of saving 15 million dollars over five years if they contracted out the buses. In the end, they decided to go with outsourcing and the district says the bus drivers can apply with the new company.

Bus drivers were disappointed that they are now out of a job. Driver Sue Smith said, "I've been with the Meridian School District for 20 years, so I am at the top of my pay scale. With the new company, I would come in at the bottom." The district says that about 80% of the drivers will be hired to work for the contractor.

The district says the drivers will have their jobs for at least another 21 days while the vote gets approved and the contract gets signed. District officials say most likely the new company will take over in August, in time for the start of the new school year.