School districts get new bus firm

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Battle Ground and Hockinson -- Petermann Northwest, which has been the Battle Ground School District’s bus service provider since 2008, was purchased earlier this school year by Durham School Services of Warrenville, Ill., a division of National Express Corp. But state and federal authorities have required Petermann/Durham to divest two of its Washington state contracts in the name of competition in the school-transportation field. So Battle Ground and Hockinson schools will be served by Student Transportation of America (http://www.ridestbus.com) through June 2014, at which point the district can extend the contract for two one-year periods before putting it out to bid again. School officials said they’ve heard glowing things about STA from other school districts, and STA regional vice president Donald Kissell told the school districts he intends to retain the spirit and staff of Petermann, which has been an integral part of the community.