School board opts to begin negotiations with Tri County Transportation

Staff Writer

Despite an outpouring of support for Student Transportation of America (STA) from district bus drivers, members of the Punxsutawney Area School Board voted 7-2 at their voting meeting on Tuesday to begin contract negotiations with Tri County Transportation to be the district's sole transportation provider.

The meeting room was filled to capacity Tuesday night with an audience that was overwhelmingly composed of bus drivers, STA employees and other supporters of STA for the contract, nine of whom โ€” Carolyn Coleman, Amanda Ferguson, Tonya Shank, Darla DeHaven, Falisha Campbell, Amelia Seaton, Gary Wilson, Mike Przybrowski and Renee Buck โ€” addressed the board.

When the matter was turned over to the board, members Deneen Evans and Kyle Lingenfelter made a case for STA. Evans was concerned about the possibility of putting people out of work, especially given the percentage of drivers who live in the Punxsutawney area. Lingenfelter added his concern about having enough trained drivers on hand.

Evans made a motion, seconded by Lingenfelter, to begin negotiations with STA โ€” but they were the only ones to vote for it, with David Wachob, George Powers, Jeanne Martino-McAllister, Elaine Muto, Cindy Depp-Hutchinson, Chad Pearce and Janey London opposed.

London then made a motion, seconded by Muto, to begin negotiations with Tri County, which passed by a reversal of the first vote.

Martino-McAllister, who was physically absent but called into the meeting, said Tri County Transportation had a very good proposal, where STA's was largely the same as in previous years.