BUCKSPORT — Regional School Unit 25 (RSU 25), the Hancock and Lamoine schools and the Center Drive School in Orrington have formed the Hancock Transportation Collaborative, according to RSU 25 Superintendent Jim Boothby.
RSU 25 includes the municipalities of Bucksport, Verona Island, Orland and Prospect.
All the districts had been contracting with First Student for bussing services, but all the districts needed to reduce transportation costs.
“There was a significant increase associated with their bid,” Boothby said. “We were faced with exceptionally high costs.”
The group has hired all the local First Student bus drivers to work for the collaborative.
“By working together, we gain more control of our transportation system,” said Katrina Kane, superintendent of the Hancock Grammar School and Lamoine Consolidated School. “Being part of a bussing collaborative enables us to share common expenses and reduce our maintenance costs.”
“The only thing Hancock and Lamoine families will notice is that our old, high-mileage buses have been replaced with brand new ones,” Kane said. “Cost savings from the elimination of contracted services allowed for the purchase of new buses in both Hancock and Lamoine.”
RSU 25 and the Center Drive School also have received new buses.
A background issue that was a factor, according to Boothby, was the sale of the company that owns First Student.
First Student is owned by FirstGroup, which is being purchased this year by EQT Partners, according to Reuters.