ORANGE : District to Discuss Privatizing Bus Service

The controversial issue of privatizing the school bus service will again go before the Orange Unified School District trustees tonight.

The district’s ailing transportation system became a pressing matter last year, when a consultant delivered a scathing report on the state of the 61-bus fleet. Many buses are dangerously overaged and should be replaced, consultant Virginia Barnes said.

Trustees began implementing a replacement schedule in the spring. But they also began discussing the possibility of contracting out the service. Business officials in the district estimate that the bus service now costs $1 million more than is allocated in the transportation budget.

The district received bids last month, but trustees were dismayed to learn that contracting for buses would cost even more than replacing them. Contracting for drivers, however, could save from $400,000 to $600,000 per year, officials said, although some dispute those figures.


Some trustees want to postpone a vote until further investigation of the companies submitting bids.

The school board moved the meeting from its regular Thursday slot because it would conflict with the Veteran’s Day holiday Friday.

The meeting in district headquarters at 1401 N. Handy begins at 6:45 p.m.