Districts may hire drivers through firm

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. - Eight Muskegon area school districts are considering hiring Michigan Education Transportation Services to provide bus drivers, a move that could save districts anywhere from 5 percent to 61 percent of current transportation costs, according to The Muskegon Chronicle.

METS, based in Portland, was the only company that responded to a request for proposals put out by the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District on behalf of local districts, The Chronicle reported. The company offered schools a variety of wage-and-benefit scenarios, ranging from duplicating current wages and providing METS benefits to reduced wages and no benefits, according to The Chronicle.

The proposal stipulated that the districts will retain ownership of their buses and will manage their own transportation, but that the drivers would be provided through METS, The Chronicle reported. The lowest METS wage would be $13 per hour; average district pay ranges from about $14 to $16 per hour, according to the report.

Marios Demetriou, MAISD associate superintendent, declined to tell The Chronicle which scenario the districts are pursuing.

The potential savings vary widely, but, for example, Muskegon Public Schools would save $400,000 in wages and $300,000 in benefits by choosing the lowest-cost plan, The Chronicle reported.

The Muskegon Chronicle, "Many Muskegon County school districts pursuing plans to privatize bus drivers," May 14, 2010

Michigan Education Report, "Beyond brooms, burgers and buses," Nov. 21, 2006