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Durham School Services schedules layoffs in June

Durham School Services, a full-service student transportation provider, reported to the Texas Workforce Commission that 67 positions in Little Elm will be cut beginning June 30.

The company provided its layoff notice to the commission April 23 as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which protects workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notification of pending job cuts.

In its letter to the commission, John P. Kemblowski, area manager of human resources with Durham School Services, said Little Elm as well as Joshua, Weatherford and the Uvalde school districts had not renewed their contracts.

As a result, Durham ordered a permanent plant/business closing of its facilities, the letter said.

Julie Zwahr, director of communications and partnerships with the Little Elm school district, said in March the district sent a request for proposals and Durham School Services was one of the four companies that responded.

Earlier this month, the the board trustees approved GoldStar Transit as the carrier for its student transportation for the 2013-14 school year, she said.

“Currently we pay $3.44 per mile for our regular route, and the contract we signed is for $2.55 per mile for the next four years,” Zwahr said. “Our buses travel 470 miles per year, so that is quite a significant savings.”

Under the new contract, GoldStar will also provide the school district with 42 brand-new buses that are air-conditioned, include a GPS tracking system and operate on propane.

“Durham currently owned the buses,” Zwahr said.

Goldstar is also setting up an interview with current district employees, if they are interested in joining the company.

“Some of them might, and we want to give them options,” Zwahr said.

In addition to the layoffs in Denton County, the company also will cut an additional 218 positions in Johnson, Parker and Uvalde counties starting July 31.

Durham employees could be considered for a transfer to other company locations.

— Karina Ramírez