Mio AuSable Schools Considers Privatizing Busing

Mio AuSable Schools may soon privatize transportation services to help the district deal with its shrinking budget.

The district has already privatized custodial services and is now accepting bids to run busing.

The union is worried about the quality of drivers if the district decides to privatize. There is also concern about what will happen to the drivers who are already established in the community. Those employees would have to be considered for a position but it is unclear how many would stay.

“They know this person gets dropped off here and this person gets dropped off there and we're afraid if you bring in a company from out of town there's a lot of questions,” said Sue Bratton, Union President for Educational Support Services.

The state is encouraging school districts to request bids for support services like busing, cafeteria, and custodial services.

Mio AuSable Schools says it is saving $160,000 per year from privatizing the custodial staff.

“It's not just us it's everybody. We're all feeling the pinch and we need to do all we can to see where we can save money,” said Superintendent Gary Wood.

Bids need to be turned in before November first then the decision is in the hands of the school board. The union plans to submit a bid to continue providing services.

Both the district and the union say it is very difficult to find bus drivers with the qualifications for the job.

Kyle Mitchell and Photojournalist Tony Zyber have more on the debate from Oscoda County.

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