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Lucas Transportation backing off from shutting down this week

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It looks like the threatened loss this week of transportation to hundreds of Wake County special-education students is over.

As noted in today's article, Lucas Transportation and the other private vendors have agreed to serve out the rest of the school year. Zell Lucas, president of Lucas Transportation, had threatened to shut down this week because he said the current contract is putting the company on the verge of financial collapse.

The stand down is welcome news to the 2,500 students who are served by the private vendors. These are kids who can't be put on regular buses for various reasons, such as behavioral issues, homelessness and severe mental disabilities.

In 2008, Wake signed a four-year contract with 11 private companies.

In June, Wake negotiated a new one-year contract that Lucas and other vendors complain provides significantly less money. The vendors say they reluctantly signed the new deal because they had too much money tied up in new vehicles purchased to handle the original contract.

Whether Wake can get enough money to improve the contract for the 2010-11 school year during this tight budget season is uncertain.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.