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Board agrees to new busing contract

By Staff | Aug 13, 2010

Rugby school district’s costs to provide transportation service for students to and from school as well as to and from extra-curricular activities are going up.

In return, the district is getting assurance from its bus service provider that newer buses will be put on those routes.

At its Aug. 10 meeting the Rugby School Board approved a new seven-year busing contact with Hartley’s Busing and Charter Service of Rugby.

Under the terms of the contract, the district agreed to increase the cost-per-mile fee to $2.15.

That will amount to about an $81,000 increase to run the district’s 10 rural school bus routes and about $8,000 increase for operating extracurricular buses. Also, the cost to provide in-city bus service in the winter months will see a small increase.

All totaled, the anticipated annual bus contract with Hartley’s will be about $475,000.

The district will re-coup about one-half of those costs through transportation funds from the Department of Public Instruction, said Jeff Lind, school superintendent.

Hartley Hageness, owner of Hartley’s Busing and Charter Service, approached the board this spring about structuring a new contract as escalating fuel and driver wages made it difficult to continue to operate the contract in the black.

The district was in its fifth year of a seven-year contract, and renegotiating a contract was allowed. The new agreement also has provisions that the per-mile fee would go up in the event of rising fuel costs. Lind said Rugby’s contract falls in line with others in the region.

Hartley’s has agreed to place four new buses on routes in year one of the contract and more in the years to follow.

Chuck Volk, board member and part of the school’s transportation committee which met with Hageness during the contract negotiation, believes this is a good deal for the district, despite the increased costs.

New buses on the routes decrease the chances of break-downs and adds safety for the riders. The buses will also be equipped with cameras.

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