According to State Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania school districts may be spending millions too much on busing. Examinations by his office found 19 school districts in 11 counties paid a total of $54.8 million more for transportation during different periods between 2004 and 2014 than what the state determined was the maximum amount it would consider for the calculation of reimbursements. Why? It turns out that only one of those districts had competitively bid transportation services during the audit periods. The auditor general said school districts should be required to seek bids on such contracts.
Some of the districts stated they did not use a competitive bidding process for student transportation due to the quality of the service in the bids. They also stated that they worked hard to get the best value for the service as evidenced in contracts with several years of no increases to district costs and then only 1 percent increases for a number of years.
The state calculates a district’s maximum allowable transportation cost from the number of students transported and the number of miles traveled. A measure of local wealth is then used to calculate how much of the maximum allowable cost will be reimbursed by the state. Each year this maximum allowable cost is increased by the consumer price index, but does not account for changes in the price of fuel.