The Democratic Town Committee affirms its commitment to the present owner-operator system of school bus transportation. Historically, the owner-operators have provided superior personal service to the community, have done so at a competitive and cost efficient manner, and have added to the economic well-being of the town.
The Democratic Town Committee previously made this commitment as a policy principle and the present circumstances cause us to reassess and reaffirm that commitment.
The Democratic Town Committee encourages a fair bidding process. Unfortunately the present Board of Education would allow its business manager to effectuate a bidding process that shuts out owner-operators. Requiring a performance bond for each and every owner-operator is of no consequence except to intentionally cause their bids to rise. No such requirement was made in the past. There is no good reason for this concocted procedure except to unfairly disadvantage the owner-operators.
There can be no dispute that the owner-operator system has provided the very best personal service to Newtown children and parents. It is a service that is unparalleled. One must question why a Board would throw away a tried and true owner-operator bus system?
The owner–operator matter is not solely a service provider issue; it is also an important community economic issue. The Newtown Democratic Town Committee recognizes that the maintenance of the owner-operator bus system is a vital piece of Newtown’s economic vitality. Keeping the $2.5M - $3.0M dollars in the Newtown economy is critical. From a cursory economic perspective, with an average economic multiplier of money factor of 3, the $2.5M-$3M paid to owner-operators in Newtown results in $7.5M - $9.0M dollars in community area dollar spending; add to that the property and vehicle taxes that Newtown collects from owner-operator buses. The choice to lose tax revenues and community dollar spending when the vast majority of voters want the owner-operator services makes no sense.
Finally, Dr. Janet Robinson, Superintendent, Ron Bienkowski, Business Director, and the Board of Education must recognize that any short term dollars saved will not necessarily be injected into the educational budget for other services. In summary, this unwise policy will result in a lesser quality of services, fewer education dollars, and significant economic loss to the town overall. We strongly encourage these leaders to reject the present avenue they are traveling.
Newtown Democratic Town Committee