Trinity Area School Board did not approve a proposed transportation contract with GG&C and Schweinebraten bus companies Thursday.
The vote to award a five-year contract to the Washington companies ended in a 3-3 deadlock. Three school board members, Sandra Clutter, Jenene Hupp and William Clemens, were prohibited from weighing in on transportation issues as part of an agreement with GG&C, after the company filed a lawsuit in Washington County Court alleging the three ignored conflicts of interest stemming from their employment by an independent bus contractor. In addition, the three were employed by GG&C previously.
Voting in favor of the contract were Directors Jennifer Morgan, Tamara Salvatori and Penny Caleffe. Opposed were Scott Day, Colleen Interval and Shawn Mulac.
School board members were at odds over which transportation bid would be cheaper over the life of the contract, with Interval, district resident and Washington School District manager Rick Mancini, and Schweinebraten Bus Co. all providing a comparison of proposals showing various projected savings.
Morgan said she saw no reason to switch to a new bus company.
“The district has no current issues against GG&C and Schweinebraten. I’m okay with what they’re providing for the safety of our kids, and money-wise it’s fair. And First Student is not here,” said Morgan of a national company with corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The board may address the transportation contract again at its March 21 meeting.
In another matter, the board is considering withdrawing from the Intermediate Unit 1 Health Insurance Consortium. The consortium administers health care coverage for twenty-five school districts, five career and technology centers and one intermediate unit.
Business manager Jim Shargots said the district is obtaining quotes from health insurance providers including UPMC to see whether there would be any financial savings. The district must notify the consortium by March 31 if it intends to withdraw.