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Full Bus Outsourcing Aims to Save Detroit District $49 million

The Detroit public school system announced this afternoon it plans to fully outsource its transportation operations in an effort to save money.

The cash-strapped district currently outsources 51 percent of its transportation, and expects cost savings of $49 million from the change to full outsourcing, according to a news release the district sent out. More than 22,300 students currently use the district's bus service.

The 84,000-student district has been examining every way it can to save money and gain new sources of revenue to make it sustainable. The district, which had multiple consecutive years of deficit spending, has been run for the past year by Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb, who was appointed by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. He has closed schools, laid off staff members and taken on the school board in an effort to improve academics.

"The decision to fully outsource transportation will dramatically improve transportation services for our children across the district, who now rely on a cobbled-together system of contracted companies, district-provided services and taxi cabs," Bobb said in a statement.

Recently, the Detroit school system was was able to gain $15.8 million more in federal technology grant money through the E-Rate program by identifying more students who qualified for free or reduced-price meals. The Detroit metropolitan area has often led the nation's cities in unemployment during the economic downturn.

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