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Schools to use new bus service

Evanston/Skokie District 65 schools will use a new company to provide school bus service starting this fall.

The school board Monday approved a contract with Positive Connections of Evanston to replace the existing vendor, Alltown Bus Service of Skokie.

Evanston/Skokie District 65 schools will use a new company to provide school bus service starting this fall.

The school board Monday approved a contract with Positive Connections of Evanston to replace the existing vendor, Alltown Bus Service of Skokie.

Positive Connections was the low bidder for the three-year contract at an annual cost of $2.1 million, edging out Alltown, the next lowest bidder, by $82,979.20. A total of four companies bid on the contract.

School Superintendent Hardy Murphy said that recommendations from other school districts using Positive Connections were "overwhelmingly positive" and that district staff who visited the company’s garage on Emerson Street found the employees to be "professional and courteous" and said the company experiences lower turnover of its staff because it provides higher wages.

The board also awarded a three-year contract to low-bidder Best Taxi Service of Evanston to transport special education students to out-of-district schools at an estimated first-year cost of $425,000.

And the board adopted a 1.6 percent increase in the transportation fee charged to parents whose children are bused to magnet schools and special language programs. Parents will be billed $369 for next year, $6 more than this year’s rate.

Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches are provided free transportation.

Parents of just under 200 students not eligible for the free transportation were billed for the bus service this year, but so far only 26 percent of them have paid the bill. That’s down from a 53-percent collection rate at this time last year. 

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