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IPS eliminating district-employed transportation staff

Durham bus service is out, First Student is in
Posted at 9:30 PM, Jan 24, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time, Indianapolis Public Schools will not operate its own transportation department. The district is also ending its relationship with Durham School Services when their current contract ends on June 30.

Starting July 1, all of IPS' 305 bus routes will be solely operated by First Student. This change will save IPS $7 million.

Currently, transportation is run by both Indianapolis Public Schools and Durham School Services. Both organizations split staff, bus routes and operational duties.

IPS Transportation, which is run by the school district itself, employs its own transportation supervisors, dispatchers, bus drivers, and bus monitors. The school buses they operate are also owned by IPS. IPS says this change will affect 135 people currently employed by the school district.

Durham School Services, which is a contractor, runs a large portion of IPS routes. Those drivers, bus monitors, dispatchers, supervisors, and mechanics are all employed by Durham School Services; Durham also owns the fleet of buses they operate. The current contract between Indianapolis Public School and Durham School Services will terminate on June 30, 2020, leaving the contractor will no routes to IPS. The number of Durham staffers impacted is not yet known.

IPS plans to work with First Student to transition current district-employees they deem 'successful' into a position with First Student.

IPS Spokesperson Carrie Black tells RTV6, Indianapolis Public Schools will "maintain a core group of transportation employees who will manage the First Student contract and ongoing district initiatives."

First Student plans to buy an entirely new fleet of buses for the districts 305 routes. First Student Inc. previously held a transportation contract with IPS, until the district switched to Durham School Services in 2010.