The Sullivan County Board of Education has been studying the comparative costs between managing and maintaining the county's own fleet of school buses and continuing to contract out the service. Photo by Ned Jilton II.
BLOUNTVILLE — The song says the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round.
But it doesn't mention the cost of the bus, fuel, drivers' and mechanics' pay, parts and bus depreciation, all of which keep the circular motion going.
That's where school bus contracts and contractors enter the picture unless a local school system wants to spend millions of dollars in coming years to assume operation of its own fleet of buses.
Sullivan County's Board of Education Thursday night authorized negotiations with the three low bidders for contracts to take over 40 bus routes in the Sullivan Central and East high school zones.
All told, as pointed out by school board member Randall Jones, the renewal will cost about $120,000 a year more than Holston Bus Co. was charging, but Assistant Director of Schools Gene Johnson, who oversees transportation for the system, pointed out Holston would have been due for cost-of-living and fuel increase upcharges.
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