First Student expands in Illinois

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First Student has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Hopewell Transportation, with the deal expected to be concluded by early Novemnber. Hopewell is a Chicagoland-based school transportation services provider for special needs students and their families. Hopewell will continue to operate under the same name.

Will McDermott, Hopewell’s President, will retain a senior leadership role in the new venture.

“Traditional transportation models are not one-size-fits-all, and Hopewell has advanced a service that meets the unique requirements of the special needs population,” said First Student President Paul Osland. “As the largest provider of special education transportation services in North America, this is a logical step for us. Through this partnership, we intend to grow as well as learn about the special care the Hopewell team puts into transporting our most vulnerable population. We will continue to search for opportunities where we can leverage our expertise to benefit school districts, students and families.”

Hopewell Transportation was founded in 2011 and now has a fleet of more than 200 vehicles which provides special needs transportation for 20 school districts in the Chicago area.

Will McDermott said: “First Student has long been an industry leader when it comes to developing and implementing best practices for transporting special education students. Working together, we can strengthen our commitment to provide safe and reliable transportation to the districts we support and those entrusted to our care. Hopewell’s strength is its ability to provide cost savings to each district and a safe and comfortable riding experience for each student. Its operations are designed to offer school districts, parents and students a simple and efficient method to coordinate student transportation.”

This acquisition increases First Student’s market presence in Illinois. The company has 16 locations in the Chicago area, which transport over 70,000 students in the community every school day.