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City of Framingham Reaches Settlement with Durham School Services for Bus Services Not Provided During Covid-19 Pandemic


Framingham Public Schools

Robert A. Tremblay, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Farley Building, 19 Flagg Drive
Framingham, Massachusetts 01702
Telephone: 508-626-9117


For Immediate Release

 

City of Framingham Reaches Settlement with Durham School Services for Bus Services Not Provided During Covid-19 Pandemic

 

For further Information, Contact:

Dr. Robert Tremblay, Superintendent of Schools

Framingham Public Schools

rtremblay@framingham.k12.ma.us

(508) 626-9117

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Wednesday, July 3, 2024 (Framingham, MA) - The City of Framingham  recently reached a settlement with Durham School Services on behalf of the Framingham Public Schools whereby Durham paid the City $265,000 in partial reimbursement of bus transportation fees paid by the City to Durham School Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Express LLC, to provide bus services during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

During the pandemic, the City and Durham entered into a contract amendment whereby the City agreed to pay Durham 50% of the per bus hourly rate for Durham to maintain the buses that were not being used and to maintain driver readiness to return to work as needed by the Framingham Public Schools.  The City paid $1.3 million to Durham under this amendment. 

 

After the Framingham Public Schools provided notice in December of 2020 of its intention to return to in-person learning in February of 2021, Durham failed to provide the required number of buses and bus drivers to allow the district to return to full in-person learning.  Durham provided some buses and drivers, but not enough.  As a result, hundreds of Framingham Public School students were left waiting for the bus for up to an hour at a time or were not picked up at all. 

 

After seeking to resolve its dispute with Durham short of filing litigation, the City filed litigation in the winter of 2023 seeking to recover that portion of what it paid Durham for which Durham failed to deliver buses and bus drivers, approximately 30% of the total. After Durham’s motion to dismiss the case was denied by a federal court judge, and after written discovery was exchanged, the parties recently reached a settlement whereby Durham agreed to pay the City $265,000, without acknowledging liability. The settlement funds have been received and deposited in the City’s account. The settlement was approved by the Mayor as required by City ordinances.

 

“We are pleased with the settlement negotiated on behalf of the City and the Framingham Public Schools,” said Dr. Robert A. Tremblay, Superintendent of Schools. “By virtue of this settlement, the City has recovered the majority of the payments made to Durham for which Durham did not provide services, while at the same time avoiding the cost of further discovery, depositions, summary judgment and trial, which would have tied up School and City senior staff for a long time. By filing suit and obtaining this settlement, the City and Schools have ensured that taxpayers receive the benefit for all contracted services,” said Tremblay. 

 

The Framingham Public Schools would like to thank former City Solicitor and Special Counsel Christopher J. Petrini, and his colleague, Arthur J. Goldberg for their skills and tireless efforts on behalf of the City and School District in this litigation, as well as the Mayor and School Committee for supporting this litigation. 


About Framingham Public Schools
The mission of the Framingham Public Schools is to educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically-thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by highly-qualified staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with our entire community. For news, updates, and announcements, follow Framingham Public Schools (@FraminghamPS) on Facebook and (@framinghamschools) on Instagram. You can also join the conversation using #FraminghamSchools.

 

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