GUILFORD, Maine — SAD 4 and Union 60 were pioneers for consolidating long before it became the mantra for the state, so it is no surprise the two plan to collaborate on transportation services.
SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns announced Tuesday SAD 4 would provide bus transportation for Union 60 pupils for the 2009-2010 school year. The two daily runs that SAD 4 will provide will cost the combined communities of Greenville, Shirley and Beaver Cove in Union 60 just over $99,000, he said.
In addition, the contract calls for SAD 4 to receive $17 an hour plus $1.50 a mile for extra and co-curricular trips.
“It’s a win-win for both,” Stearns told directors Tuesday night of the extra revenue both units will gain.
“We have made certain that there will be no added costs to SAD 4 taxpayers,” Stearns said Wednesday. “In fact, any revenue from the contract will be put right back into transportation, improving the fleet and improving the service.”
Union 60 Superintendent Heather Perry said Wednesday she was happy with the proposal from SAD 4. “We look forward to entering into a collaborative effort that saves real taxpayer dollars for both units, unlike certain reorganization plans we all know about,” she said, emphasizing the word “real.”
Greenville schools will save about $10,000 on the daily runs and an additional $15,000 on the extra runs by contracting with SAD 4, according to Perry.
Perry said she and Stearns started talking about transportation costs during the 2007-2008 school year. Union 60 has contracted with Rowell’s Garage of Dover-Foxcroft for about 15 years, but decided to find cost savings by switching to a collaborative effort with another school unit, she said.
The contract does allow SAD 4 to return to the table if fuel prices increase as they did in recent years, she said.
SAD 4 has enough buses to do the transportation in both units, according to Dave Cotta, SAD 4’s transportation director. He said three SAD 4 buses would be stationed in Greenville, including the newest bus expected to be delivered this summer. That still leaves SAD 4 with the approximately 10 buses it uses daily, as well as three spares, he said Wednesday.
Cotta said residents in the Greenville area will be hired for the Moosehead Lake region runs and the drivers will be considered SAD 4 employees.
“The governor wants collaboration, so we thought that was a good thing to do,” Cotta said of the arrangement.