Employees of Dairyland Buses, a long-time transportation provider for Waukesha students, were shocked when the company lost its contract to provide busing to the Waukesha School District despite having the lowest bid for diesel fuel.
The contract expires in June and when the 2013-14 school year begins, First Student will provide busing services.
While First Student’s bids came in at $6.33 million for diesel fuel and $6.14 million for propane fuel with an assumption that 50 percent of buses are run on propane fuel, Dairyland Buses’ bid $6.2 million to run buses on diesel fuel.
Waukesha School Board members unanimously approved a contract with First Student based on its technological advances that were not proposed by Dairyland Bus. For examples, First Student has a program to have students swipe a card when they get on and off the bus and send text messages to parents if desired.
“It is just phenomenal the things that will be available,” said Lauri Clifton, director of business services for Waukesha schools.
First Student was well researched through a variety of avenues, including state and federal government agencies.
Paul Kolo, president of Dairyland Buses, told the board the company never had the chance to present alternative proposals and left the door open to talk about other possibilities.
“We have never once failed the Waukesha School District,” Kolo said. “We have never failed to provide quality service. … We were the low bid. We were the incumbent, and we have done a great job for this district for many, many years.”
The busing change didn’t sit well for some parents, though. One mother told the Waukesha School Board she trusted the bus drivers to take good care of her children.
“I cant put a price tag on that,” she said. “That is more important than GPS. In my opinion, if it is not broken, don’t fix it.”