Lewisville ISD will have a new bus company next school year, and it may have some new buses, too.
During a work session Monday the LISD Board of Trustees approved a request for proposal (RFP) for Texas Central School Bus to provide transportation services for the district beginning in the 2020-21 school year.
The term of the contract is five years, with an option to renew for five more years.
LISD has been in contract with First Student since 2015. Before that it had been partnership with Durham Transportation for 27 years.
The five-year cost is expected to be $83.5 million. That includes Texas Central School's Bus's service, as well as LISD's cost to purchase the fuel and to own its own fleet.
LISD will purchase the fuel for the buses since it doesn't have to pay taxes on it, according to district documents. Doing that saves approximately 21 percent in costs, the district said.
The board is expected to vote on an item in December to purchase its own fleet. Documents state the difference between a vendor-owned fleet and a district-owned fleet range from $12.5 million to $20 million over the five years.
Mike Ball, chief financial officer, said if the board approves the purchase of its own fleet, all of the buses will be new and will have the same equipment as the current fleet. That includes seat belts since the Texas Legislature has made that a requirement.
It will also include a GPS system similar to what the district uses now.
“We’ll also be looking at an app … we’ll have to have some discussions about the extent to which the wideness that we’ll make that available,” Ball said. “But we want to have better data about where the buses are and when they might be expected.”
Texas Central School Bus will provide full services to the district, including home-to-school and school-to-home transportation, as well as extracurricular rides, special education services and campus shuttle services.
It will also provide management, regular and standby drivers, maintenance and safety training.
An evaluation committee established the parameters for the RFP. The committee received RFPs from nine companies, five of which met the complete scope of the services requested. The committee also examined the responses.
A district document states an evaluation committee chose Texas Central School Bus since it offered the strongest response to the district's needs and that it provided an implementation plan and customer service program focused on meeting LISD's needs.
“A plan was presented to increase administrative staff from current levels at the LISD transportation sites and to locate a district regional support team office in Lewisville ISD,” a document stated. “This regional team would be supporting Lewisville ISD and another area school district’s operations.”
There is a termination option at the end of each year written into the contract.