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Other Financing Options There can be times when a third-party commercial fi-

nancing company enters the picture, for example, as an add-on when a district’s debt level with the captive lender has met its limit. Don Coolbaugh, vice president of sales for commercial

financing provider Advantage Funding, pointed out that banks have a debt limit within which they are comfort- able working with customers. When that limit is reached, additional sources can be tapped to acquire the necessary, additional funds. Commercial lenders can also assist with credit tiers that don’t meet requirements of the captive and can add flexibility in structure needed that can’t be offered by the captive. Direct commercial lenders like Advantage Funding gen-

erally don’t work with municipal financing, so they are not a stand-alone option for public school districts. Another difference is that commercial lenders secure their own fi- nancing whereas captives generally are backed by the bank. In the school bus industry, Advantage Funding and similar

financial lenders work mainly with private contractor com- panies, which receive tax depreciation benefits that are not

applicable in municipal financing because all of the munici- pal customers are tax-exempt. “So they can’t take advantage of tax credits or tax benefits,”

added Kenneth Kaminsky, program manager for Blue Bird Capital Services. A benefit of contracting with private bus companies, espe-

cially the larger ones, is that they can utilize their economies of scale to negotiate directly with school bus manufacturers. School districts can also transfer some liability risks to contrac- tors as well as technical considerations such as state and local bus specification requirements. “A major benefit that the school district has with the out-

sourcing option, is that they leave the purchase versus lease decision and risk with the contractor,” said Maureen Rich- mond, a spokesperson at First Student. “More importantly, the school district is not tied to the terms and conditions of the contractor’s financing. Rather, the outsourced contract determines the length of the agreement, the permitted aver- age age of the fleet, mix of buses, etc., providing the school district with the flexibility to optimize its fleet profile by changing out the fleet (or the contractor) based on terms of the agreement.” ■

AX-0009 Privitization ad STN:AX-0009 Privitization ad STN 7/12/10 3:31 PM Page 1

Atlantic Express fleets have access to and can be equipped with GreenRoad™, a high tech personalized driving coach combined with GPS that provides immediate feedback to help measure, improve and sustain safe and fuel-efficient driving decisions. Drivers, transportation managers and any other personnel are provided access to web-based performance reports and analysis. The system empowers drivers and fleets to reduce crashes, improve fuel economy and reduce overall vehicle operating costs.

GreenRoad is just one of the innovations you can expect when you choose Atlantic Express for your student transportation. Let us provide safe, clean, reliable transportation for your school district. To learn more, call 1-800-336-3886 ext. 8073.

7 North Street Staten Island, NY 10302 22 School Transportation News Magazine August 2011

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