ROME, N.Y. -- Birnie Bus is expressing its “profound disappointment” with Utica City School District’s decision to go with another bus provider after the two have worked together for nearly 25 years.
Last week, Utica CSD Superintendent Bruce Karam said after the contract with Birnie Bus ends in June, an Illinois-based company called Durham School Services will take over bussing for the district.
Karam said Durham came in as the lowest responsible bidder, and the district expects to save about $5 million under the five-year contract.
Rocky Corigliano, vice president of operations at Birnie Bus, says the company made the district aware of what they felt were “inconsistencies” in the bidding process, and asked to meet with Karam and the Board of Education. According to Corigliano, the meeting never happened.
Corigliano also says “the District decided to present the Board’s approval of the over $10 million annual multi-year contract on the consent agenda with other normal recurring Board business. There by by-passing taxpayers’ ability to question the Board on this significant change and expenditure.”
In October, the district cited a bus driver shortage as the reason it couldn’t begin its hybrid schedule the following month as planned. Birnie Bus responded, saying a number of “viable transportation proposals” were submitted to the district, but were never discussed.
Corigliano says Birnie Bus is “committed to providing quality transportation to the students and parents of the Utica City School District through the end of the 2020 – 2021 school year.”