West County Transportation Agency is one of six school transportation Joint Powers Agreements in California.Our agreement was signed between our members who are public educational agencies in Sonoma County for the purpose of operating a pupil transportation agency.

J.P.A. is a Joint Powers Agreement.The California Government Code in Title I, Division 7, Chapter 5, Article I (sections 6500 et seq.), also know as the Joint Exercise of Power Act, authorizes separate public agencies to form a Joint Powers Agreement for any reason that will mutually benefit them.Joint Powers Agreements are utilized to provide municipalities common and shared police, fire or redevelopment services.School districts and municipalities often form Joint Powers Agreements for property, liability or worker's compensation insurance, such as RESIG.

A J.P.A. has all of the rights and responsibilities as the members that formed it and some of those are specifically noted in the Agreement or in the California Code of Regulations.

Our purpose or mission is to provide safe, coordinated, cost-effective and child-oriented school transportation service for our member school districts.We benefit from the strength of all of our members as well as the economy of scale when a larger operation is formed.You also benefit from a professional management team that can concentrate only on school transportation.We are more easily able to provide contracted services to nonmembers at rates that exceed our costs, which benefits our members by subsidizing their regular transportation program.


Why West County Transportation was formed

Discussions among the west county (Analy Union High School District and it ten feeder elementary school districts) school districts relative to providing coordinated school transportation service had been occurring for many years.School district administrators recognized the escalating costs of school transportation as well as the flat or decreasing state funding.They realized that some action would need to be taken.Because of the rural nature of our area, elimination of school transportation was not viewed as a responsible alternative.Discussions continued relative to the feasibility of forming a Joint Powers Agreement.Some of the school districts provided coordinated services as a first step or test.The Analy Union High School District provided bus maintenance service for Gravenstein Union School District, Harmony Union School District and Oak Grove Union School District.In addition, they shared buses in order to provide coordinated service.High School District drivers drove routes for Oak Grove and Gravenstein and vice versa.

In addition to the escalating cost of school transportation service that was motivating this discussion, school district administrators were realizing that they were spending far too much time dealing with school transportation concerns.Vehicle maintenance, substitute drivers, adequate training for drivers, etc. all took a great deal of time away from administrators.In some cases a bus driver calling in sick could involve more than half of a Superintendent's day.

Although there was funding, albeit shrinking, for operating school transportation, there were virtually no dollars available for the capital needs of the program.All of the school districts were facing the challenge of an aging bus fleet and no hope of being able to afford to replace buses.

All of the above motivated the school districts toward forming a Joint Powers Agreement.