The bus company next door, Schmitty & Sons in Lakeville, became the new bus carrier in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 on July 1.
“We’re pleased to have a local company that can support the buses we need to transport our students,” said Glenn Simon, the district’s director of operations, properties and transportation. “Schmitty & Sons has an excellent reputation as being reliable and responsible, and I know they will take good care of our students.”
The company already began transporting District 191 students attending summer school on July 9, and they’ve also stepped up to assist with routes as needed over the past two years.
“We’re excited about providing District 191 transportation,” said John O’Laughlin, project manager with Schmitty & Sons. “We’re all about service, service, service to students, families, staff members, schools and the school district.”
O’Laughlin is a former 911 dispatcher who worked in transportation for the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District before joining Schmitty & Sons earlier this year.
He appreciates that Schmitty & Sons has been around for 60 years and became an employee-owned company in 2016. “That means that employees share in the company’s success,” said O’Laughlin, “and we share a sense of pride in the work we do together.”
Schmitty & Sons has built a whole new fleet of buses for the partnership that have safety features like interior and exterior cameras, a public address system that helps drivers easily communicate with students, and a GPS tracking system. The buses will be easy to identify with “Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Schools” printed on the side. O’Laughlin said it’s a priority to keep the buses clean and nice to enhance the student experience.
They’ve hired several employees of Durham School Services, the district’s former bus provider, and are also actively recruiting at job fairs and via billboards, websites, door hangers and more.
The Board of Education approved a contract with Schmitty & Sons that runs until June 30, 2020, with the option for the district to renew for an additional two years through June 30, 2022. The cost is nearly $8 million a year including buses for field trips, activities and athletics in addition to every day pick up and return of the nearly 70 percent of District 191 students who ride buses. Parents can reach Schmitty & Sons at 952-985-7500 if they have questions or concerns.