“I want to put more education dollars in our classrooms, not our school buses,” said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, while releasing an analysis of 19 school districts that exceeded their state busing allowance.
According to the report, 95% of overspending districts do not make use of competitive bidding. DePasquale says it’s time to make contract bidding for transportation services mandatory:
Some school districts simply don’t believe what the audits showed. In fact, six of the 19 districts indicate either in response to their audit or in their action, that would be Scranton, that they have no intention of seeking bids for transportation services. Even though the audits showed, and they agreed, that they were paying too much. . . they offer some type of justification as to why they don’t seek competitive bids. It will range from well there isn’t any competition out there, it’s not a requirement. And the list goes on and on and on. And I just view them as lame excuse, after lame excuse, after lame excuse.
DePasquale indicates school districts could save nearly $55 million without raising taxes or cutting programs. Making use of competitive bidding to save public funds should be standard operating procedure. This is a critical step school boards must take to ensure education dollars are spent in the classroom, where they belong.