CALUMET CITY | The Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215 School Board gave its approval this week to a two-year extension of its contract with a Montgomery-based bus company.
The district has used Illinois Central School Bus Co. to transport students to and from T.F. North High School in Calumet City, along with T.F. South High School in Lansing and the Center for Academics and Technology in Calumet City.
That existing contract runs through the end of the current school year in June.
But Illinois Central officials offered the high school district separate extensions for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. District officials will be asked to pay a 2 percent increase in each of those years.
District Finance Director Charles DiMartino said that increase is preferable to the original rate desired by Illinois Central, which asked for a 3 percent increase each year.
“We negotiated it down to 2 percent,” DiMartino said. “We got them to agree to lower rates to approve an extension.”
School Board members expressed no opposition to the extension, although district Superintendent Creg Williams asked for the views of the principals at each of the high schools before signing off on the idea.
The principals did not express any opposition.
“We’re very satisfied,” said T.F. South Principal Judith Whalen. “We’ve had very few problems with the routes.”
“Ditto,” said T.F. North Principal Dwayne Evans, who said there is only the occasional bus route that runs late.
Kent Farlow, principal at the Academics and Technology center, said he is particularly pleased with Illinois Central because he thinks their officials are easier to work with than the previous company that provided school bus services to the Thornton Fractional high schools.
“The contrast is like night and day,” Farlow said. “Certain things were taken for granted by the old company. It’s much better now.”
In other business, the School Board approved accepting grants from the Illinois State Board of Education for $134,000 for the 21st Century Community Learning Center.
The district also will receive a $300 grant from the Cook County Farm Bureau to help support the school garden programs at T.F. South and T.F. North high schools.