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Letter: Private buses could save cash

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. Credit: Barry Sloan

The start of another school year is almost upon us, and with it an annual property tax bill. Historically these bills keep going up, but this year new tax incentives in the state budget could reduce those increases. School districts able to reduce costs through shared services, consolidation and other operational efficiencies would be eligible for tax incentives and could pass the savings on to taxpayers.

One way to increase efficiency and reduce costs is for districts that provide their own transportation to look at using a private school-bus contractor. Not only do contractors provide transportation to more than half of all students riding a yellow school bus in the state, they help save taxpayers more than $200 million each year. I estimate that another $100 million in savings is available statewide.

The Manhasset school district, for example, saved more than $1 million a year after partnering with school bus contractor Huntington Coach.

Robert C. Pape, Hicksville

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.