BERKELEY – The Central Regional School District has made about a quarter of a million dollars in renting out their buses and drivers to other districts, officials said.
For the 2016-2017 school year, the district is bringing in about $240,000, business administrator Kevin O’Shea said. The district bills enough to cover expenses and a small margin that goes toward supporting Central’s own transportation needs. It charges a rate based on a mix of hours and mileage.
The school district consists of two neighboring buildings, so the needs for busing are just two hours in the morning and two hours at the end of the day. This leaves the drivers with more time for other work, he said.
Nationwide, there have been increasing demands placed on drivers, he said, requiring them to know some basic mechanical aspects. This leads to a shortage of drivers, and many districts are having trouble filling out their fleet. Therefore, Central’s drivers become in demand.
It also helps that Central is geographically located in the middle of Ocean County, near the Garden State Parkway, so that they can reach other districts easier.
As the 2016-2017 school year ends, there was some money left over from unexpended funds. This means that the district put a certain amount of money toward a project, and the project was finished at a lower amount. Therefore, approximately $200,000 was rolled into a maintenance reserve account for projects for the 2017-2018 school year.
The public address system will be one of the beneficiaries of that. The PA system is a security issue, and district representatives had expressed interest that they wanted to include that in next year’s budget.
Another security feature is placing a film on windows that will make them shatter proof, superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides said. The difference is that the bullet will go through the glass, but not shatter the glass. Therefore a shooter wouldn’t be able to shoot through a window and reach inside and unlock a door.
Other maintenance projects that have either begun or are scheduled at some time are: roof work on the Middle School, repairing the lighted walkway, and flooring in the superintendent’s office.