Lehigh Valley

Pen Argyl plans to shop around for better busing contract:

Budget planners look to cut costs

PEN ARGYL, Pa - With funding becoming increasingly tight, the Pen Argyl Area School District Tuesday night voted to shop around for possibly a better deal in its $1 million a year transportation contract that provides buses for nearly its entire 1,700 student population.

First Student Inc., a Cincinnati based company, has had the busing contract with the district for 10 to 15 years, said Business Manager Walter Schlegel Jr. First Student operates in 38 states and in about 1,400 school districts.

Putting the bus contract out for bid "is not any knock on First Student," Schlegel told the school board.

"Funds are tighter now than they've ever been," Schlegel said. "We have a hard time paying for our current programs."

As a result, he said, "it's time to make sure we're getting the best price in the market."

Besides Pen Argyl, the school district includes Wind Gap Borough and Plainfield Township.

On another spending matter, the district is planning to spend about $1 million in maintenance projects, one for about $450,000 to install new windows at the Plainfield Elementary School and another $500,000 on a new roof at the school in Wind Gap.

Officials said the work has to be done, like putting new tires on a car.

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