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Peekskill Schools Extend Bus Pact with Mile Square

State requirements clouded efforts to seek a cost-saving multiyear contract.

The Peekskill Board of Education has extended its current bus contract with Mile Square Transportation through June 2013 after rejecting, for the second time, all bids for a new multiyear contract.

The board approved the extension without comment during a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 2.

The one-year extension covers transportation between home and school, field trips and sports trips for the 2012-13 school year, with a cost increase based on the consumer price index.

Superintendent of Schools James Willis told reporters after the meeting that the district had hoped to reduce transportation costs through a multiyear contract but the bid process “got messy” as officials grappled with wording requirements of the state Education Department (SED). Rather than risk losing state transportation aid because of the language issue, the district opted for the one-year extension, “a clean way to handle this,” he said.

Willis said the decision had nothing to do with scattered parental criticisms of Mile Square, which has held Peekskill contracts for several years.

The board had been poised to award a three-year contract June 19 to Mile Square but, citing “concerns,” instead voted to negotiate an extension of the existing contract through the summer and seek new bids. Those bids, opened July 18, were rejected Thursday.

Willis said the district would seek clarification from the SED and start work this fall on a multiyear contract.

Katie Schmidt Feder August 04, 2012 at 12:32 PM
My question would be did the PCSD board and superintendent require Mile High to improve the inconsistent quailty and training of their monitors and bus drivers as parents such as myself had requeted - or will the Mile High management be allowed to get away with the inconsistent hiring and traing procedures of the past (as their are some VERY GOOD drivers and monitors - but some who should never be hired in that capacity) .
Katie Schmidt Feder August 04, 2012 at 12:41 PM
sorry - type - requested and that should be Mile Square - not Mile high - you can take the girl out of Colorado . .
Beach Girl August 04, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Have to agree with you . Some of the monitors and Drivers should not be transporting children . the Bus should be a safe way to transport children and some of the monitors /busdriver have no respect the way the speak to the children and we are talkin about the lil Kid Pre k to 2 grade . hoping for a better yr with the bus for my kids cause last year experience was no the best !!!!
Mary Effin Sunshine August 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I agree with Katie. Having two severely disabled children, I have been dealing with Mile Square for a long time and it is IMPERATIVE to have FULLY TRAINED bus drivers and monitors. In the past, I have been blessed with many wonderful drivers and monitors..but there were also a handful that didnt even know how to restrain a wheelchair. My husband had to get on the bus and show the man how to correctly do it..which brings me to another topic...some of the wheelchair busses are not equipped to properly stabilize a wheelchair and not all busses have a CB available to them. I also agree with Katie about 'some who should never be hired in that capacity.... The majority of drivers/monitors that my children have had over the years were very loving people who cared very much for my 'precious cargo' <3
Kirsten Berger August 06, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I am pretty disappointed that Mile Square's contract was renewed. My son has had to experience some pretty awful bus monitors and bus driver. One year, he had a bus-driver and monitor who really took interest in the kids and in maintaining discipline fairly. These two individuals are also people who I have seen active in the community in other ways. But for the most part, I really get the impression that the people Mile Square employs are just doing it because there is no other job available for them. THe district really needs to start getting new bids now for the next school year and the contract should state the bus drivers and monitors should have sensitivity training, have experience with children and know how to discipline those kids who need it and have good interpersonal skills...i.e. be able to speak with parents who may not agree with something like the no-talking rule without blowing up.
Mike Henderson September 26, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Perhaps all the comments should be directed to the Board of Education. Instead of merely claiming there were problewms with the bid process, the Board President shoiuld reveal how he and the Board were the subjects of alawsuit which clearly showed collusion and bid-rigging in favor of his friends. Perhaps the Board should explain how the Court strongly recommended that the district comply with the law and not attempt to rig the bid process andrenew with Miles Square. New York Law requires low bid contracts and the Board tried to circumvent this and the Court said NO. While the critics think that the Board of Education is "clean', rest assured, it is not!
Katie Schmidt Feder September 26, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Mike- can you direct me to the NY State law that requires schools to accept the lowest bid? This was mentioned at the School Board meeting last spring and I found that to believe. I mean, we all know that the lowest bid does not guarantee the best quality. The thing that really bothers me about Mile Square is the way their owner acted at the meeting - so very brazen and when I went to speak to him afterwards about some of my experiences with moniters and drivers, he just shrugged his shoulders and said "what can I do? its the best I can hire." This seemed like such a lame reply to a PARENT. When I asked him if he could improve training and screening - he had no answer. BUT his attorney stepped in to tell me how horrible the other bus company was and shoved a picture of a bus accident in my face - claiming it was the other bus company. Totally slimeball move in my opinion and rather insulting to my intelligence. Although the school board is not perfect - they are citizens giving a great deal of their volunteer time to serve their community. Perhaps what you say is true about them wanting to offer the contract to another company - but I would certainly hope that state law should not dictate the company our district chooses! I am trying to be open minded this year and have had only one frustrating experience thus far. I just want Mile Square to take pride in their work - and EARN the contract - not feel they deserve the contract because they had the lowest bid.
hunter for life September 27, 2012 at 01:55 AM
The School board is far from perfect !!!! did they ever ride on one of the school buses they are over packed !! 3 kids to a seat some of these kids are a size of an adult !!!! . So where is the safety in PCSD with over loading the kids. Ms Feder in all due respect ... who are you goin to hire for mim wage . Do i agree the way the owner spoke to you was right , No i do not agree , but he gave you the answer that you really didnt want to hear , Its called the truth. Mr. Willis and the Board are not here because of the Children of Peekskill . Mr. Willis is here because he collects a nice salary , for Doin NOthing ...... and the board they are a joke !!!!!!!!
Patricia Brooks October 01, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I am appalled how untrained and unprofessional these bus monitors are. My 4 th grader just informed me that in Bus#2 the bus monitor actually jumped into the kids' faces and yells from the top of her lungs. If parents behaved like this it would be child abuse!!!!!

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