Dozens of emotional Rinehimer bus drivers, some furious and others in tears, left the Crestwood School Board meeting defeated on May 12 after the board unanimously voted for a five-year transportation contract with another company.
The board’s controversial decision began when Rinehimer declined to renew its contract with Crestwood, causing the district to put the bus contract out to bid. After receiving three proposals, one from Rinehimer, the board went with the low bidder, Historic Mountaintop Hotel Inc., a company owned by businessman Kevin Foley and based in Kingston.
The contract with the new company will save the district $400,000. Currently, the board, yet to adopt next year’s budget, is facing a deficit of $1.2 million.
Rinehimer Bus Lines Inc. has been providing transportation services for Crestwood for over 40 years. The meeting room was packed with Rinehimer drivers and supporters May 12, and several drivers pleaded with the board to stick with Rinehimer, citing the company’s long history and experience driving Crestwood students.
Charles Bray, a Rinehimer bus driver for 20 years, told the board that his company has a good reputation of getting children to school safely and on time, in all weather conditions. He asked why the board would turn against his company.
Solicitor Jack Dean responded that it was Rinehimer that decided not to renew its current contract with the district. Rinehimer wanted an increase of three-percent in the first two years of its contract in order to purchase new equipment, and a five-percent