The decision to hire a new bus company for the Watertown School District is now official.

As expected, First Student Transportation Services will begin a five year contract with the district beginning July 1. This new deal ends a 36-year relationship with Freeman Bus Corporation, who lost the contract went it went out for bid this year.

The district said the First Student deal will save them nearly $7 million over the life of the contract.

This decision to move on from Freeman Bus Corporation sparked controversy in the city, many arguing about the loss of jobs and child safety.

But, First Student said student safety is a priority.

During a presentation before the school board, company officials touted a new fleet of buses with the latest safety features.

That includes the First-View school bus tracking and communication app for parents and students, which allows real-time tracking for bus arrivals and departures.

The buses also have a Child Check-Mate system to prevent sleeping child events and High-definition GPS with digital video.