School districts bail on bus company after bumpy start to school year

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At least three central Indiana school districts got off to a rocky start.

Buses in Perry Township, Martinsville and Muncie didn't get students to school on time or, worse, left some them standing on street corners. 13 Investigates found that all three districts hired the same company to improve their bus systems.

All three hired True Consultant Service of Indianapolis to change bus routes, schedules, and procedures. Schools expected their operations would become more efficient and save taxpayers money.

Perry Township paid True Consultant $12,000. Some bus rides were two hours long. The superintendent told Eyewitness News they weren't getting the services they needed, so now the district is now doing its own routing.

Martinsville scrapped the company's routes, switched back its old routing system and stopped using True Consultant.

Muncie schools canceled classes for two days to fix all its bus problems. The district has a three-year contract with True Consultant. The company was to be paid $40,000 just for year one. A school spokesperson said they are now using someone else who knows the routing software.

The district closed three of its nine elementary schools this year. Superintendent Dr. Stephen Baule said he knew that transferring students and re-routing buses wouldn’t be easy.

"One of the things we knew going into it is that this would be a difficult transition for us with everything else," he explained. "So we had to look to an outside company to come in and sort of manage all of the process for us. They failed us."

Eyewitness News reached out to True Consultant Service. Its website was running Thursday, but not Friday. The company's business address is a shared office workspace near downtown.

The person who answered the phone said, "We don't have any comment at this point." When I asked for his last name, he hung up.

Perry Township says its contract with the company has run out.

Although Muncie and Martinsville schools said they've stopped using the services of True Consultant, they still have contracts in place. A Martinsville school spokesperson said its lawyers looking over their legal options.