LEWISTON — The School Committee on Monday night approved a five-year contract with Hudson Bus, which does business as Student Transportation of America.

For years, the School Department has contracted student busing with a private company which provides buses and employs school bus drivers.

Reasons for continuing business with Hudson, committee members were told, included a better price — $462,414 less than the other bidder, NorthEast Charter and Tour.

Hudson proposed to transport Lewiston students for $19.1 million over five years, compared to NECT’s bid of $19.5 million, over five years.

Committee member Paul St. Pierre said Hudson has always been responsive to concerns and provided good service.

Committee Chairwoman Linda Scott said she attended the Audit Committee.

A lot of good work went into the contract, she said. Scott praised work in developing the contract by Butch Pratt, who oversees transportation for Lewiston schools.

Peter Ouellette, terminal manager for Hudson, offered School Committee members his “sincere thanks to allow us again to transport the students of Lewiston.”

Hudson is updating the fleet, he said. In the fall, there’ll be a new fleet of 78 pieces of equipment with more cameras and monitors.

There will be “new buses, new minivans, new minibuses,” Ouellette said. “Everything is going to be diesel-powered. We’ll do everything in our power to make sure everybody is safe.”

In other business, the committee:

* Approved hiring Bill Grant as director of Lewiston Adult Education, replacing Eva Giles, who has accepted a job with the Finance Authority of Maine. The committee also heard an annual report on the adult education program.

* Awarded the first Certificate of Appreciation to Lewiston High School art teacher Jody Dube. Scott has said the award will be given at every meeting to a teacher, student, parent or anyone going above and beyond to help Lewiston schools.

Dube helped his students create ceramic school mugs that raised $1,400 for The Store Next Door, a program that helps homeless students.

The recognition “is important for morale,” Dube said. “I’m honored to be the first chosen.”

There are many people working quietly doing good things in Lewiston schools, Dube said.

“You’re going to have an easy (time) picking somebody” for future awards, he said.


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