Overall, it seemed like there were a fair number of commendations including:
- A new Transportation Manager who appears competent and motivated is replacing the retiring manager.
- The department’s culture of accommodation results in excellent customer service to students, parents, and school personnel.
- Most staff appeared interested and willing to implement changes to improve departmental operations.
The department is not particularly data driven. For example—
o Consistent and basic data on student ridership by program and by mode of transport, bus counts, and numbers of routes are not readily available.
o Regular management reports are generally lacking.
o The Control Center’s logs are not summarized, analyzed or used to make decisions or to allocate resources.
o Contractors are not required to provide basic service-level information.
o There is no routine system for principals to report pupil transportation
problems to the department.
o It is difficult to reconcile the number of personnel with the budget, the organization chart, and staff rosters.
There are no apparent incentives to control program costs and no consequences for failing to do so.
o Enrollment policies are established, and pupil and program placement decisions are made without considering their associated transportation costs.
o A large number of taxis are used for several programs, even though taxis services are ineligible for state transportation reimbursements.
o Excessive numbers of courtesy riders, i.e., students who live within the established walking distance from their school and are not otherwise qualified to ride the bus.
o New bus stops that are not checked for safety compliance prior to activation.
o Routing inefficiencies due to short-walk distances to bus stops.
The list goes on. It's heartbreaking because this is real money walking out the door because of inefficiencies and lack of management. The transportation costs have been through the roof and most of the time we were told it was because of all-city or regional draw schools and transporting many students from the south to the north. Now it looks like there were many reasons.
This is a pretty damning report but it does sound like the people who work in that department want to do better. I think with the new manager, new technology, a new SAP and a new (and enforced) method of working, this is one department that will definitely do better.
Here are some of the suggestions from the audit:
Create a comprehensive training program for all contract and district personnel
involved in transporting students that includes—
a. District policies
b. Safety procedures
c. Emergency Procedures
d. Pupil management
e. Special student needs.