Bus company takes spat with school district to courtNew Richmond School District’s former bus service has filed a lawsuit in St. Croix County Court, claiming the district owes the company nearly $200,000.
By: By Judy Wiff, New Richmond News
New Richmond School District’s former bus service has filed a lawsuit in St. Croix County Court, claiming the district owes the company nearly $200,000.
The suit, filed by Richland Center Bus Service, Onalaska, alleges negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. The complaint says the district owes Richland $1,500,926 but only paid $1,305,951.
The bus service claims the district misrepresented its route miles when it sought bids for transportation services in November 2005.
According to the complaint, when it advertised for the academic years 2006-2007 through 2010-2011, the district indicated it had 27 regular bus routes, several special-needs routes and field trip routes and that the regular bus routes totaled 1,725 miles per day.
Richland submitted a bid using the mileage calculation supplied by the district and was awarded the contract in March 2006.
According to the complaint, in anticipation of fulfilling the contract, Richland built a new $1 million transportation center and bought several new buses.
After it began providing service, Richland, which was operating as New Richmond Bus Co., says it realized the regular bus routes totaled 1,518 miles per day — or 207 fewer miles than it was led to believe.
The company tried “multiple times” to negotiate with the district to mitigate its damages, but without success, says the lawsuit.
State law requires that a company file a claim directly with a governmental body before initiating a civil law suit. Months ago the bus company did that.
At that time District Administrator Morrie Veilleux said the original mileage estimate came directly from invoices from the district’s previous bus provider. He said when the issue was discovered, the bus company could have opted out of the contract by giving 60 days notice.
“The contract allowed for that,” said Veilleux, “but they decided to stick with it for four years.”
Editor’s note: Reporter Jackie Grumish contributed to this article.