Lindenhurst schools pick new transportation company

An example of a new low-emission school bus An example of a new low-emission school bus provided to some Long Island school districts by Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc. is pictured at the group's headquarters on Aug. 26, 2013. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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The Lindenhurst school district has hired a new transportation company, a move that the district says will save money and provide better safety.

Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc. of Bay Shore, which was chosen by the district from responses to a request for proposals, has signed a five-year, $37.3 million contract. For the coming school year, transportation costs will be $6.9 million, a savings of $865,365 from the 2013-2014 school year, according to district spokeswoman Alison DeMaria.

The district had previously contracted for 18 years with Baumann & Sons Buses Inc., of Ronkonkoma, which also submitted a proposal.

"We were disappointed, to say the least," said Jim Poisella, Jr., Baumann's director of human resources. "Hopefully, an opportunity will come up again to work with the district."

Under the RFP, the district was not required to award the contract to the lowest bidder. DeMaria said Suffolk Transportation scored the highest overall and in the safety category on a point system that evaluated price, service and safety.

Suffolk Transportation will provide Lindenhurst with new vehicles, all with cameras and GPS, as well as the Child Check-Mate System, an alarm system that reminds drivers to check for sleeping children at the end of each route. The company also plans to provide safety programs for K-5 students and institute a future initiative involving Transfinder, a web-based program that allows authorized personnel to view students and route information in real time.

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"This new relationship will not only save the district money, but the features that we obtain will enhance bus safety," said Jacqueline Scrio, assistant superintendent for business and noninstructional personnel. "We as a district recognize that by utilizing this technology, we are significantly improving the overall welfare of our students."

The district buses 3,359 students to its schools and 241 children to various programs at BOCES. The district also buses 225 students to private and parochial schools.

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