Budget & Finance

Bus Contracts: The Pros and Cons for School Districts Outsourcing Transportation

By Mark Lieberman — December 11, 2023 1 min read
Buses parked covered with snow
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School district administrators take a variety of approaches to manage the complicated task of transporting hundreds or thousands of students to schools each day.

Some directly hire transportation experts and drivers to manage and operate buses owned and maintained by the district. Others look to contractors for some or all of their transportation operations. Some bus companies are local mom-and-pop shops, while others are part of multinational conglomerates.

There’s no definitive consensus on the perfect model every district should strive to attain. But decades of experimentation point to some key potential upsides and risks district leaders should bear in mind as they weigh whether to hire a bus company to manage and operate part or all of their operation for student transportation.

For more on this topic, read this article from Education Week: Late Arrivals, Steep Costs: Why Some Districts Ditch Third-Party Bus Companies.

Liz Yap, Designer and Vanessa Solis, Associate Design Director contributed to this article.

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