Penn Hills schools seeks new bus company

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After months of debate over busing problems with First Student, the Penn Hills School District has elected to seek a new transportation vendor, while some students are being bused by other companies.

In a statement this week from district spokeswoman Teresita K. Kolenchak, the district expressed its frustration with the Cincinnati-based First Student for its "inconsistent and erratic performance and inability to fulfill its duties under our contract."

The school board last month voted to seek proposals from other companies for the next school year and in the meantime has hired other busing companies, including A.J. Myers & Sons and W. L. Roenigk Inc., to transport some students.   The district is in the middle of a five-year contract with First Student for transportation of its 4,000 students and nearly 100 private and charter school students.  

Late last year, parents began coming to board meetings complaining about children being left at school or buses failing to arrive.  Representatives from the company attended a November board meeting in which the issues were detailed, but the problems continued.

"The district has for some time been receiving complaints from the public regarding transportation issues," Ms. Kolenchak said.

The RFPs were required to be submitted by Monday, she said.  A decision about a new vendor is expected to be made by the board soon.

Company officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Janice Crompton: or 412-263-1159.

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