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Mercer County school board votes no to outsourcing

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A relief for parents in Mercer County, the school board voted not to outsource its bus drivers. The board says it’s best for the district.

A room of community members waited patiently Thursday, June 13, 2013 to hear the verdict of what the next school year will bring. After listening to concerns from the public, the board went against what was recommended by voting to keep things the same.

"I’m ecstatic. I mean I couldn’t ask for anything more,” says Darla Dixon, President of the Mercer County Transportation Education Association.

The board looked at the option of outsourcing comes from the district’s financial troubles. The district expected to save $97,000 from outsourcing.

"It's been something the board has been working on for months. We've collected a lot of data,” says Alan Boucher, superintendent for the Mercer County School District #404.

Johannes Bus Service was the only company that made a bid, can provide transportation services for the same number of routes that the district's bus drivers currently provides, but for cheaper. It’s the uncertainty in savings that made the board vote the other way,

"The board members were concerned about the future, you know down the road, will the cost savings remain or would the climate change or would we spend more money with outsourcing,” says Boucher.

Now it’s all about moving forward, "I think our public forums and getting the info out there has kind of made them move off those key points,” says Dixon.

Making the best out of what they have, "Everyone cares about the students and everyone is committed to being fiscally responsible so we're going to make this work we're going to look for ways to run this district efficiently,” says Boucher.

The school board and the Mercer County Transportation Association will negotiate a new contract.