The Trinity Area School Board awarded bus contracts to GG&C and Schweinebraten bus companies Tuesday.
The board also approved a settlement agreement with GG&C, and the bus company dropped its lawsuit against the district, ending a dispute over who would transport district students that lasted nearly 18 months.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the two companies, and thank them for their patience and understanding and willingness to work with us,” said board president Jennifer Morgan. “We’re very glad this is settled, and we’re ready to move on.”
The board approved nine-year contracts with the bus companies, and it approved a one-year contract for the 2013-14 school year, in which GG&C and Schweinebraten provided Trinity transportation services under the terms of its previous contract, which expired June 30.
The district did not provide a specific dollar amount the contract will earn the companies during the life of the contract, but said the contract includes an average increase of about one percent annually.
The cost for daily runs, calculated by the Observer-Reporter based on the contract’s daily rate per run of about $287.50, is estimated at $1.7 million for the upcoming year, but that does not include special education, athletics, extracurricular or field trip runs.
In 2013, GG&C and Schweinebraten sued the school district over a number of issues after the board awarded an $8.86 million transportation contract to First Student Inc.
GG&C bid $8.67 million, but some members of the prior board, which opened the transportation contract for bidding for the first time in decades, questioned post-deadline clarifications submitted by the company, whether GG&C submitted its bid properly and the amount of its original bid.
John Lenzner, president of GG&C, said Tuesday he is glad the wrangling is over.
“All we ever wanted to do was to (provide transportation) for the school district,” said Lenzner. “We had good support from the public throughout, which we appreciated. This was a long time in coming. It’s been stressful, to say the least.”
The companies have transported Trinity students since 1967.
The school board approved the contracts by a 7-0-1 vote. Director Henry Clemens, who was barred by court order from bus contract discussions and votes because he works for one of the bus companies, abstained.
Morgan said she heard nothing from First Student regarding the transportation contract.
Also during the meeting, Dale Lyons of Schweinebraten presented the school district with a $1,000 scholarship for the Schweinebraten Bus Co. Scholarship Fund, which will be given annually to a Trinity student.
In another matter, the board appointed J. Frank Golsky to the school board. Golsky, a former school teacher who retired from Trinity, replaces Jenene Hupp, who resigned from the board April 2. He served as a substitute teacher at Trinity, but resigned Tuesday.
Golsky will represent Amwell and North Franklin townships, and his term will end in December 2015.