Fee Increase Could Lead to Galloway Busing Changes

Increases in consortium fees mean the district would end up paying close to $100,000 next year, as opposed to $16,000 as of 2010.

The administrative fees for the Transportation Consortium in which the Galloway Township School District is involved could see a raise of just over $20,000, according to a discussion at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting at the middle school.

After about 10 years with a 0.62 percent administration fee on the transportation consortium, the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District raised the fee 2.62 percent last year and is expected to be raised to 3.62 percent next year, meaning the Galloway Township School District could see the total cost at $97,000 beginning next year as opposed to $16,000 as of 2010. The fee is currently $75,000.

This was the news Superintendent of Schools Annette Giaquinto and Business Administrator Tim Kelley brought back to the district following a transportation consortium meeting with the other districts, including consortium lead Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District.

The other districts including Hamilton Township, Absecon, and Egg Harbor City, Mullica Township, Port Republic and Green Bank.

While there were a few ideas thrown about on how to proceed forward, one thing was clear: the Galloway School District is not happy with the situation, particularly given recent issues with children not being picked up in the morning.

“When the kids are not being picked up, it doesn’t matter what we’re paying,” Board Member Suzette Cordero said. “When the kids aren’t getting picked up, it’s counterproductive.”

The contract includes financial penalties after verbal and written warnings for repeated lateness.

The school board members also recognized the district must remain a member of the consortium for the rest of the year.

However, they will look to the future, they said, and that includes options to leave the consortium or consider taking over the lead.

“Who designated them as the lead?” Board Vice President George Schwenger asked. “Can districts change the lead?”

The district will also consider going out to bid for its own buses rather than remain in the consortium.

Schwenger also questioned if other districts were paying a similar price. Giaquinto also said there seemed to be a disagreement on if Galloway receives $100,000 worth of service.

“The first time there was an increase, they had a list of 23 points they did as the lead,” Giaquinto said.

She said that of the 23 points, 13 points were handled by the Galloway School District, and four of those were handled by Greater Egg.

Whoever the lead is charges a fee, Giaquinto said. Board President Ernest Huggard said if Galloway was the lead, the district would only charge for costs the district would incur to run the consortium.

The meeting ended with no clear resolution.  The next transportation consortium meeting is scheduled for Feb. 23.


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