Southington BOE approves new transportation contract

Southington BOE approves new transportation contract

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SOUTHINGTON — New Britain Transportation will continue to provide busing for the town's public school students.

The Board of Education on Thursday night unanimously approved a new five-year agreement with the company.

The agreement covers daily transportation for regular education students, special education students, athletic trips and extracurricular activities.

School Business Director Sherri DiNello said there are no changes in service in the new contract. It includes language covering possible increases in fuel prices and increases in mandated employee benefits.

The contract, which starts during the 2020-21 school year and ends with the 2024-25 school year, includes annual cost increases of 2.79 percent for daily student transportation in each of its first two years. For the remaining three years of the contract the annual rate increases are bumped up to 2.89 percent each year.

Meanwhile, the cost of providing busing for athletic trips and other extracurricular activities would increase at a rate of 2.5 percent annually over all five years.

DiNello said the cost increases were calculated into the school department's budget request for the upcoming year, which totals $101.6 million.

A Board of Finance hearing on the overall town budget proposal, including the school budget, is scheduled for Monday at DePaolo Middle School at 7 p.m.

According to the proposed 2020-21 school budget, the total amount allocated toward regulation education transportation — including vocational, after-school activities and non-public school transportation — is $2,684,890. The request represents a $86,812 increase over the current year's transportation budget.

Meanwhile, the costs for special education transportation for next year are also expected to increase. According to the current budget, a little more than $2.13 million is allocated toward special education transportation. The proposed budget for the upcoming school year allocates $2.21 million toward special education transportation.

Overall transportation would account for just over $4.9 million in the school spending request.

The board, in a closed-door executive session during the Thursday night meeting, discussed contract extensions with two of its labor unions that are still being negotiated. One of the unions represents school secretarial and cafeteria employees, while the other union represents school nurses. Both of the agreements expire on June 30.