BREITUNG TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - As of Friday, December 7, it has been one week of school since Schilleman's Bus Services took over for Breitung Township and Dickinson and Iron ISD Schools.
"We're thrilled to have this stability," said Beitung Township Superintendent Craig Allen.
The change-over to Schilleman's comes after a contract with R & A Transportation Services ended late November. R & A extended their contract for one week to make the district's transition to Schilleman's easier.
"This week has been a week most of the routes were filled, mostly on time," said Superintendent Allen. "Drivers are still learning the routes a little bit."
In a statement, Greg and Sue Herfindahl, owners of the Eagle River, Wisconsin's Schilleman's Bus Service, stated, "We are excited about providing quality transportation to students in the Breitung Township and Dickinson-Iron County areas. Our company has been in existence since 1991 and we pride ourselves on providing quality and safe student transportation. When we were contacted by the two school districts, we could see that they were in a tough situation with their current contractor retiring. When we looked at the quality of the districts, we felt that our company would be a great fit. Although the transition has happened, very quickly which can present some challenges, we are confident that, in time, we will have the busing needs of both districts where we want them to be."
Superintendent Allen says Schilleman's has purchased 15 brand new, 71 seat buses. Seven drivers are in training and should be on the roads after students return from Christmas vacation. In the mean time, some routes are being spliced together and until the new drivers hit the road, two bus routes are being sub-contracted.
"I'm really pleased with the patience our parents and our community had going through this transition," said Superintendent Allen.
So far this week, Superintendent Allen says all routes have been filled to make sure students and their parents can expect pick ups and drop offs at the same time. The contract with Schilleman's extends for the next five years and fine details are being worked out.
"Schilleman's is a high quality bus company, they've been nothing but fantastic," said Superintendent Allen. "Over the past three weeks, this turn around is incredible."
The Herfindahls continue, "We are looking forward to providing quality transportation for the families of these districts and developing relationships within the community. We are grateful that so many of the current drivers have chosen to drive school bus for our company and we look forward to hearing from others who would like to join us!"
Superintendent Allen says hiring a new bus company is a process that usually lasts all summer. He says once the seven drivers currently in training are ready to hit the road, the school districts will be fully staffed with enough drivers to fill in as substitutes and bus students to athletic and extra curricular activities.