AACS Board of Education eyes transportation options

The Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education is eyeing its transportation options. Here, a student walks to his bus at Lakeside High School. 

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education is looking to reduce the district’s transportation costs.

Terry Thomas, president of Community Bus Services of Youngstown, gave a presentation of its services at Wednesday night’s board meeting, promising to save the district $300,000 a year.

“The district is looking to reduce costs and retain personnel while providing top-notch services,” Treasurer Mark Astorino said. “This is one of our options.”

The school district has called upon CBS in the past to provide uninterrupted bus services for its students. 

“Our customers choose us,” Thomas said. “We’ve got all the pieces. We will save the district money.”

CBS has more than 200 vehicles and 400 employees.

Board member Tim Fleming said he’s concerned about jobs being taken away from area residents.

“It’s about our town, our city,” he said. “We will take care of our own first.”

Thomas said CBS uses local drivers first.

“There’s a nationwide shortage of bus drivers,” Thomas said. “Ashtabula isn’t the only school district struggling.”

He praised the bus drivers and the district’s transportation technology, such as cameras and GPS systems in the buses.

Board member Donald Rapose asked if CBS covers field trips.

Thomas said they do.

Superintendent Mark Potts said the district has 29 to 31 bus routes, covering about 100 square miles.

Thomas said CBS will work with the Board of Education and administrators to analyze student transportation and improve it.

As for rumors of the district wants to privatize its transportation system, Board President Debra Barrickman said no decisions have been made. She said the board is simply looking at its options.

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