(WMC) - Transportation was a big topic of conversation in Germantown on Tuesday as the municipal school district faces uncertainty with its bus service.
Just two weeks prior to school starting, a battle is raging between Germantown and Collierville and all six municipal schools about their shared contract with the bus company, Durham School Services.
"We are committed to getting away from the terrible early start times next year. The change made to the contract makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do that," Germantown Municipal School Board Commissioner Ken Hoover said.
Hoover says by sharing buses this school year, Collierville and Germantown are saving $200,000 each.
When Germantown eliminates the 7 a.m. start next year, he adds the opportunity to save by sharing goes away.
"That's why we strenuously object to seeing this language in the contract," Hoover added.
Hoover estimates it will take around $250,000 for Germantown to eliminate its third start time, but he says the Germantown board believes the positive impact on student learning is worth the extra cost.
"The bus contract has been agreed upon by all municipalities," Collierville Municipal Schools Superintendent John Aitken said.
Aitken says the bus contract was pretty much finalized July 14.
"The superintendents have been given the authority to sign that contract as we've talked about it with our board members," Aitken said.
It appears Hoover's plea may be too late.
Durham already has the contract and once they sign off, the superintendents will put their signatures on the paperwork.
"The bus routes are ready, the drivers are hired. The start times are posted," Aitken added.
WMC Action News 5's Kontji Anthony spoke with the Germantown superintendent by phone.
He said he will sign the bus contract as is, which means Germantown would have to pay any extra costs to move back their bell time when school starts August 4.
The contract is pending because Collierville wants to change its wording. Durham wants all six municipal schools to use the same wording in each contract.
"We've got a great relationship between the two communities, and I'm sure we'll work this out," Hoover added.
Until the contract is settled, Germantown and Collierville cannot start planning bus services for students.