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Riteway to take over bus service

Waupaca schools outsource transportation

By Robert Cloud

The Waupaca School Board voted 5-1 to enter into a five-year contract with Go Riteway Bus Service.

Carl Hayek, the district’s business manager, projected that Waupaca will save $930,762 over five years by outsourcing its transportation services.

Go Riteway’s bid for a five-year contract was for nearly $6.06 million. Lamers’ bid was $17,363 higher.

At the May 8 meeting, school board member Mark Polebitski questioned having a third party in charge of the district’s transportation.

“I like it the way it is,” Polebitski said. “Local control, local employees.”

Polebitski also noted much of the initial savings will be due to revenues generated by selling the district’s buses.

The district would never be able to run its own transportation again because it could not afford to buy 30 buses again, Polebitski said.

Board member Dmitri Martin said he wanted to hear how the bus drivers felt about contracting transportation with a third party.

“This is tearing us apart,” said Mary Pat Johnson. “We don’t want it to happen.”

She said some of the bus drivers have served the district for decades.

“We love our jobs, we love our kids, we love our boss,” Johnson said.

Steve Johnson, the board president, said Riteway plans to keep all of the district’s drivers and staff for the first year.

Board member Sandy Robinson said that in addition to the cost savings, the company has a long history of working with schools.

She also pointed to the important role bus drivers have as the district’s ambassadors.

“You’re the first people seen at the beginning of the day and often the last,” Robinson said.

Hayek said Riteway’s wage structure is better than what the district pays.

Polebitski cast the sole vote against the contract.

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