Kaneland approves new special education bussing

By on May 16, 2014

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted to move on with a new bus company for special education transportation for the upcoming school year.

Currently the Kaneland School District uses Spare Wheels Transportation. This coming school year the district will use the company Illinois Central School Bus on a one-year contract.

According to a report by Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for Business, the estimated annual cost for Illinois Central School Bus is $911,111.78.

“The costs for special education transportation have continued to increase incrementally over the past several years, and by putting the service out to bid, we are hopeful that the district will see some savings,” Fuchs wrote in the report.

Fuchs added that there could be an estimated savings of $200,000 for the next school year.

All board members voted yes on the new bussing system.

Kaneland parent Karol Peters is a Virgil resident. She expressed her concern about the bussing switch during public comment.

Peters’ daughter is a 15-year-old freshman and has special needs.

“I can’t get her out of the house to go to school,” Peters said.
However, Spare Wheels has been able to get Peters’ daughter to a private placement school site in Wheaton, Ill. She said her daughter has used that bus successfully for about 18 months.

“She’s been able to get to school everyday,” Peters said.

Peters spoke further about the possibility of a bus change.

“I know this is a huge issue and not to be taken lightly,” she said.

Judy DeVoe, president of Spare Wheels Transportation, stood up during the meeting to share the company’s view relating to bidding.

“We went as low as we could on the bid,” DeVoe said.

The School District had a total of three vendors who submitted bids, including Illinois Central School Bus, First Student and Spare Wheels.

Fuchs’ report noted that the estimated total cost for First Student was $1,059,028.08. The estimated cost for Spare Wheels was $1,048,168.

After the meeting, Peters shared how the current bus system has been able to go inside her home and motivate her daughter to get on the bus.

“It’s music, playing games, just having an upbeat attitude, making it a positive experience,” Peters said. “Giving her the safety of being able to leave the home and go into an environment that she feels like she can have fun.”

Peters plans to talk with representatives of the new contracted bussing company.

“It sounds like we’re going to sit down and have a meeting,” Peters said. “And we’ll discuss what her needs are and if they’re able to address those and meet those.”

Fuchs explained what made Illinois Central School Bus a responsible choice for the district.

“This company offers the best price with a reputation that does not prohibit us from selecting them,” Fuchs said. “We verified their references and found them to be an acceptable vendor in which to work with.”