The Huron Valley School District will be saving an as yet undetermined amount of money by privatizing its transportation management team, now that both the former transportation director and assistant director have vacated their positions.
A retired transportation supervisor from within Oakland County has been temporarily filling in during the interim. Former Transportation Department Director Tom Moore, along with former Assistant Transportation Department Director Lisa Keys, left earlier this year after they secured positions outside the district.
The Finance/Auxiliary Committee forwarded a recommendation to district administration that Huron Valley contract with Dean Transportation Company.
“We’ll be contracting with Dean Transportation for the two management positions only,” said Director of Community Relations and Fund Development Janet Roberts. “We’re not looking to privatize the department, only these two positions.”
The district anticipates saving money by partnering with Dean Transportation since it provides retirement and health care benefits to contract employees, but until the contract is finalized the amount of savings is undetermined.
Dean Transportation specializes in school district transportation and provides training for supervisory personnel — an added benefit. Moreover, after checking its references, the company was found to be assessable, respectable and puts safety first.
“We opted to go with Dean Transportation because a specific skill set is needed to run a large transportation department and (the company) is known for its work in other districts,” Roberts said.
“Quality of service is our main concern,” said Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Donna Welch.
Contracting management positions is not something new for the district. Both the director of Recreation Community Education and the deputy superintendent are both contractual employees, as well as an assistant principal and several principals.
“We’ve contracted these types of positions in the past and thought, ‘Why not do it with transportation,’” Roberts said.
The committee researched several transportation management companies in Michigan before recommending the services of Dean Transportation. The company partners with over 80 school districts and transports nearly 20,000 students daily across the state.
Currently Dean Transportation has assigned a transition team to the district until both positions are filled.
In the meantime, attorneys representing both parties are fine-tuning the contract, according to Human Resources Director Jim Baker.