BOE to look at outsourcing transportation


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“I would never vote for this. It was suggested 15 years ago and people then found it would not work. It did not make sense then and it does not make sense now."
West Milford Board of Education Greg Bailey, on outsourcing the Transportation Department

BY ANN GENADER

The West Milford Board of Education has directed the school district administration to study proposals for outsourcing the school Transportation Department. This is an effort to determine if such a move would be beneficial for the students and taxpayers.

The suggestion came from Trustee William Cytowicz who said that if the board gets out of the transportation business, trustees can redirect the money for education purposes instead. Trustee Greg Bailey immediately voiced opposition to Cytowicz’s suggestion.

Cytowicz stressed that the board was not making a commitment in agreeing to have a study done. He believes that study results will show there can be a generous saving of taxpayer dollars. The trustee said fears expressed that current drivers would lose their jobs if his proposed change takes place could not be further from the truth.

To begin with, he said, West Milford is distant from other towns and for people to come from elsewhere to be drivers would not be a consideration for them.

Outsourcing the department would save money and put less financial responsibility on the district — including maintenance and replacing vehicles, he said.

“The savings could go directly to education,” said Cytowicz.

Bailey was livid about the idea of eliminating the district’s Transportation Department. The longest-serving board member, who has served for over 20 years, said he saw previous boards go down that road and observed as earlier trustees learned that a change was not feasible.

Bailey said local people who work for the district are the fabric of the community. He said these drivers know the uniqueness of local roads. Winter road hazards in the township are unlike what drivers from Bergen County or other towns distant from West Milford are aware of.

“Going to the foot of the matter — we bounce around like a ping-pong ball,” said Bailey. “I would never vote for this. It was suggested 15 years ago and people then found it would not work. It did not make sense then and it does not make sense now. I never advocated removing anyone from a job.”

Bailey said the district is accomplishing phenomenal things on a “shoestring budget” without looking to outsource transportation.

“You’re off,” Bailey told Cytowicz. “You will be a good Board of Education member but you will not save the money that you think you will with outsourcing.”

Cytowicz, who is serving his first term on the board, still believes there needs to be a look at ways to cut expenses. He shared that in 2009, when his mother could not meet financial demands, she lost her West Milford home. The continuing “For Sale” signs currently on the house and property hurt him. He said it breaks his heart to see people faced with hard decisions because of financial pressures.

He said that doing research on outsourcing the Transportation Department to see what savings could be realized is prudent.

“Any time we make a suggestion, we get criticized and attacked and treated like we are doing the wrong thing,” said Cytowicz, referring to himself and other trustees.

He said he wants to obtain facts with other trustees who are looking to save a considerable amount of money and redirect some of the current available tax money to be used for education purposes.

What do you think? Should the district look into outsourcing the Transportation Department or leave things as it is? Go to westmilfordmessenger.com and tell us your thoughts.



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