The following is the memo to the Board regarding Administration recommendation to go with the lowest bidder, First Student. Neighboring DeKalb Community Schools had a bus strike in November 2009 as employees of First Student sought wages increase for drivers from a starting pay of $10 to $12 an hour and for monitors from $8 to $10 per hour.
February 7, 2010
To: Board of Education
From: Greg Brown
RE: Transportation Bidding Results
In reviewing the bids that were received in January, we took into account recent legislative changes that require bid recipients to carefully consider the qualifications of all bidders with respect to Special Education Transportation qualifications. All bidders that participated in our bid process have solid experience in Special Education Transportation.
The following qualifications were also considered before evaluating price:
Only contractors with a minimum of five (5) years of consecutive relevant experience in education transportation were deemed to be acceptable, responsible bidders.
Only bidders with five continuous years of relevant experience transporting public school students in at least two districts of similar size (9,600 students) were considered.
Bidders had to submit a list of at least five current contracts for transportation of students in Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin (including the Greater Chicagoland area). The list included the addresses and telephone numbers of direct contacts for the contracts listed. We called these contacts and used this information to ascertain the degree of satisfaction with the services rendered by the respective bidder.
Bidders were required to list each contract that has been terminated by a school district for cause (not simply a lost bid) within the last five years and the reason for such termination.
The bidder had to submit documentation confirming that they would be able to initiate service by July 1, 2010 for the School District with the average age of buses not to exceed seven (7) years and no vehicle older than ten (10) years for the base bid proposal.
The bidder was required to provide assurance that a local office and a bus garage would be maintained within the boundaries of School District 100 to facilitate access and efficiency of operations. If the local office was not physically staffed by the certain personnel, the bidder had to provide detail on which positions would be housed elsewhere and how they plan to provide the services not housed at the local office. Bidders understood that providing qualified personnel was critical to this bid.
Bidders were required to submit documentation of a comprehensive safety program.
Bidders were required to submit audited financial statements prepared by a Certified Public Accountant for the last three fiscal years so that we could evaluate the financial strength of each bidder.
Bidders were required to certify that they are currently and will remain in compliance with the Fair Employment Practices Act of Illinois, Equal Employment Opportunity Act, Illinois Human Rights Act (as it relates to Sexual Harassment), Illinois Drug Free Workplace Act, Public Act 86-411 as it relates to criminal background investigations and other school district specific policies such as no smoking on school district property.
We then evaluated the pricing provided with each bid package. The indicated savings on the base bid proposal from the lowest bidder is approximately $2,150,000 and the savings on the alternate bid proposal is approximately $2,550,000. The calculated savings was arrived at by comparing actual bid numbers to what the costs would have been on the current contract if the current contract had simply renewed each year with a cost of living increases (assumed at 2.7% based on current December CPI). All bids received represented a savings from the existing contract.
The low bid was submitted by First Student, Inc., the largest student transportation company in North America. First Student transports more than 4,000,000 students per day on 60,000 school buses. First Student currently serves six school districts in our immediate area and a number of school districts in the Chicago suburban communities and downstate Illinois. First Student, Inc. references were all positive.
Considering all of the factors listed above, we recommend that First Student, Inc. become the transportation provider for District 100 for a three year period beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.