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Why I voted No on the District 15 transportation contract

A two-year contract was approved by the District 15 Board with its transportation union by a vote of 4 Yes (Babcock, Bokor, Ekeberg, Seiffert) to 3 No (Herr, Iannuzzelli, Sriram) on June 26th.

Following are some brief remarks explaining why I voted No.

In February at our 2nd negotiations session with the DTU I listed five principles that are important to me as an individual Board Member:

1. Safety

2. Reliability

3. Professionalism

4. Efficiency

5. Collaboration

In my view the proposed contract doesn’t accomplish enough in these areas.

I’ll comment briefly about three areas:

- First is Safety: I believe a Safe Environment requires a Culture of Safety. Although there are provisions in the contract that will likely improve safety, I’m not convinced these address core safety issues and that there is a commitment from the top to a Culture of Safety.

- Second is Collaboration: A Collaborative Environment can address shortcomings of a contract in an informal way. This is especially important in the area of Safety. However, the negotiations over the past several months would not be described by anyone as Collaborative. Unfortunately I’m not optimistic this will turn around.

- Third is Economics (which is part of Efficiency): The Administration didn’t provide the Board with an economic analysis of the proposed contract including expected impact on the forecast and key metrics. One key metric is the cost per mile. District 15′s cost per mile is roughly 30% higher than surrounding in-house and outsourced transportation departments. Although there are some improvements in economics it’s my sense that they won’t significantly close this 30% cost gap.

1 comment to Why I voted No on the District 15 transportation contract

  • Scott Herr


    The note above saying “District 15′s cost per mile is roughly 30% higher” was based on a document provided by the District 15 Administration showing transportation costs for five districts over a five year period. An economic analysis of this information would require a larger sample set and then looking at the data to determine the causes of different school district costs per mile.

    The data source is public and can be found at For example, District 15′s cost was $6.59 per mile in FY 2012 ($6,334,269 Total Regular Transportation Costs / (937,761 Regular Route Miles + 23,224 Regular Curriculum-Related Field Trip Miles)).

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