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Columbia Board of Education approves contract with new bus vendor at meeting


The Columbia Board of Education unanimously approved a contract with DS Bus Lines to provide transportation for the district at its meeting on Monday night.

The district currently uses Student Transportation of America and narrowed down its list of potential candidates to DS Bus Lines, First Student and Student Transportation of America. In December, the board decided DS Bus Lines would be the best fit for the district after an interview process.

The contract will last from Aug. 1, 2025-July 31, 2028. There is also the option of two consecutive one-year renewal periods after the initial contract.

According to the meeting agenda, the annual cost of student transportation services is currently approximately $13 million and is covered by the transportation operating budget. The proposal provides for an estimated increase to the 2024-25 operating budget of $3 million and annual increases of about 4% during the term of the agreement, the agenda states.

Superintendent Brian Yearwood’s contract was also extended by a year during the meeting. His contract will now go until June 30, 2027.

The board also discussed the possibility of adding a driver's education program at Battle, Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools. The board requested $75,000 to purchase three vehicles for students to receive classroom and laboratory instruction. The course would take place from May 30- June 26.

The district also discussed MSIP 6 attendance rates. It was revealed that attendance rates across the district for the 2023-2024 school year increased to 80%, an increase from 79% the previous school year. Beulah Elementary (91%)--Eliot Battle (73.6%) and New Haven Elementary (77.5%) schools were the only three elementary schools in the district to see a decrease in attendance.

Every middle school in the district, excluding Oakland Middle School (71%) saw an increase in attendance rates. High schools across the district, however were a different story. Rock Bridge High School (84.1%) was the only noted high school to have an increase in attendance.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

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Nia Hinson


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