Columbus district ends contract with school bus company

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A school district in north Mississippi is ending its contract with a company that trains and organizes school bus drivers and provides part of the district’s bus fleet.

Columbus Municipal School District was in the third year of the four-year contract renewed in 2017, which required the district to pay approximately $2.2 million a year to Ecco Ride, the Commercial Dispatch reported. The district has paid roughly $1.1 million this year, school board president Jason Spears said.

School buses did not have to run the last few weeks of this academic year because Mississippi schools were closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The contract allowed the Columbus district to lease five buses from the company starting 2017 and purchase each bus for $1 each after 10 years of use, said the school district’s attorney, David Dunn. With the contract ending, Ecco Ride will keep the five buses.

“Everybody’s basically taking their buses and walking away,” Dunn said.

The district will be left with 65 buses in its fleet, Superintendent Cherie Labat told the newspaper.

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