Crestwood, Bus Firm Differ Over Contract

March 29, 2019

A letter saying that a bus company involved in a state probe expects Crestwood School District to continue using its services through 2021 drew a request for a retraction from the district’s solicitor. Rinehimer Bus Lines takes the position that its contract with Crestwood runs through 2021, yet the school board sought to sever the contract after the state Auditor General’s Office discovered some of Rinehimer’s drivers lacked up-to-date clearances. The discovery led Crestwood to close school for two days in October 2018 while clearances were updated and, later, the district replaced its superintendent. Plans for the school board to seek offers for a new contract for next year drew a response from the bus company. “Rinehimer intends to take such as steps as may be necessary to protect its rights under the contract and if necessary to prevent others from interfering with its rights under the contract in accordance with Pennsylvania law,” the company’s President Scott Henry wrote to Crestwood’s Superintendent Joseph Rasmus. The letter noted that copies had been sent to school board members and other bus companies. Crestwood’s Solicitor John Dean wrote back to Rinehimer’s attorney Paul Pugliese that Henry’s letter “in and of itself is tortious interference with prospective contractual relationships.” Dean wrote that he knows that Pugliese didn’t authorize Henry’s letter and asked Pugliese to inform Henry to retract the letter. Bill Jones, Crestwood School Board president, said district officials and Rinehimer’s representatives met last week to discuss the matter. The district ended the contract but extended it through the end of this school year, Jones said. Last week, the Auditor General Office sent a draft of a report about Crestwood’s bus service to the district, but the final report hasn’t been released to the public yet. Dean said at the last board meeting that the draft criticizes the contract but complements the district for its response to the office’s findings. Attempts to contact Pugliese and Henry at their offices on Thursday evening were unsuccessful. Contact the writer: kjackson@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3587