Cranbury School Board Examines Transportation
The district will seek a new bus company for September.
At last week's Cranbury Board of Education meeting, the future of the school’s contract with the Negba Bus Service was discussed. The catalyst for the conversation was the reading of a prepared statement by resident Karen Callahan who wanted the board to be aware of Negba’s issues both in Cranbury and in nearby school districts.
During her statement at the April 12 meeting, Callahan supplied the board with documentation that Negba is currently under investigation in other local municipalities for various infractions. In addition to its 153 safety violations, she said, Negba has had buses taken out of service for a variety of violations including safety equipment, emergency windows, wiper blades, seat belts and tires.
Callahan also told the board about an incident the previous week where she said a bus transporting children struck a tree while backing out of a driveway. Cranbury Business Administrator Joyce Picariello said that the school conducted their own investigation into the incident and that there was no damage to the vehicle consistent with impacting a tree.
Board President Lynne Schwarz said that the board has “not been pleased” with Negba, which came as a surprise to Callahan.
“I never got the feeling that [the board] knew there was an issue,” she said, adding that there have been problems with the bus company for quite some time.
As for the report on Negba’s violations, Picariello said that she was aware of these infractions and that staying involved with transportation is a “daily task” because of the problems Cranbury has had with the bus company. Picariello said that Negba’s desire to expand as a company has negatively affected the way they serve the district.
“In their effort to grow, they haven’t been able to provide the same service as the previous year,” she said.
In January, Picariello informed Negba that Cranbury would not be renewing their contract for the next school year. Soliciting for a new transportation bid will begin soon, and Picariello hopes to have it ready by mid-May. Should the need arise, Picariello said that the district is prepared to “pull the plug” immediately on the contract, before the end of this school year.
In other news, the board approved the school calendars for the next two years. Certain items – such as conference and testing dates – are not yet reflected on the calendars as they have not yet been scheduled. The calendar will be viewable on the district’s website shortly.
The next meeting of the Cranbury Township Board of Education will be Tuesday, Apr. 26.