SALEM — The school board has agreed to a three-year extension with its current transportation vendor, First Student.
The contract extension puts Salem in position to negotiate a possible regional transportation contract alongside Derry, Pelham, and Windham for the 2017-18 school year.
The cost of the contract is between $1.5 million and $1.6 million annually and shows an annual increase of just under four percent, according to Superintendent Michael Delahanty.
The extension also includes some additional perks from First Student, including no increase in cost for midday bus service, GPS service, and an electronic vehicle inspection station.
“I believe it is a fair agreement and not necessarily something we would be able to find better from another vendor,” said Delahanty.
Board member Peter Morgan noted that the numbers quoted in the contract are based on a per day, per bus cost. If the number of buses was reduced, he said the amount of the contract could be reduced.
Delahanty noted that there are other variables involved with reducing the number of buses and that if the number was reduced, it could lead to earlier pickups and later dropoffs for students.
Board member Michael Carney was the lone dissenting vote against the contract extension. He noted that the transportation contract has not gone out to bid since 2006.
Carney said he would be willing to consider a one-year extension with a bid process following that.
“I’m happy with First Student and I think this is a reasonable contract,” said Carney. “But by the end of this contract in 2017, it will be 11 years since it has gone out to bid. I’d feel better if this went out to bid, although I’m not saying we’d necessarily get a better bid.”