Southwick school committee discusses transportation study

Southwick transportation study
(Credit: The Westfield News)

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Southwick School Committee opened up their meeting on Tuesday night with a discussion about one of their latest studies.

Rich Labrie, of Public Management Associates of Westfield, talked about the transportation study that he is preparing to conduct to the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District.

Labrie, who has created transportation studies for around 200 school districts throughout the country, was hired in June by previous Superintendent Dr. John Barry.

The school committee has always been interested in having a study done.

“The committee had wanted to take a look at it for a while,” said Stephen Presnal, the School District Business Manager.

Wages, salary, fleet benefits, fuel, maintenance, and contract services are just some of the many aspects to the study that Labrie has looked into.

As this is the first initial meeting Labrie has had with the school committee, he was focused on discussing ways for the district to become more efficient with transportation.

Loading efficiency will be included in Labrie’s study as it involves the number of kids on a bus. It can be based on the amount of time you have to transport between all of the schools in the district which is the transportation tier time.

“Depending on what tier time is, you may be able to pick up more kids if you have more time,” said Labrie. “It all gets factored in as we look at the efficiency of the routing.”

Working with Labrie, Presnal and Labrie will meet on October 1 and will find out how many kids are on each bus every day and how many buses there are.

Labrie will then put together all of the factors involved with the study and will create a report that is expected to be ready for the school committee in mid or late October.

Having a full report to look over every piece of information about the study, Labrie believes it will benefit the school district moving forward with any choices that they make.

The Southwick Tolland-Granville Regional School District is one of a handful of districts in Western Mass. that has a self-operated transportation system.

“Especially self-operated, because you don’t want to invest in more buses unless you know that it’s cost effective and efficient,” said Labrie.

Presnal and the rest of the school committee are looking forward to the options that Labrie may present to them.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some options presented,” said Presnal. “It’s either going to save us money or be more costly.”

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