This chapter reviews the San Angelo Independent School District's (SAISD's) student transportation operations and includes the following sections:
D. SHARED SERVICES
SAISD and the City of San Angelo have a cooperative relationship, which began in the 1970s when the city and district decided to build a shared vehicle maintenance facility. The city donated the land, and the city and the district split the construction costs. This facility is still in use today. Although they share a facility, the maintenance functions of SAISD and the city are separate. The SAISD work area is separated from the city's work area by a wall. SAISD has its own maintenance staff, parts room, supplies and parking. SAISD maintains and makes improvements its own maintenance bays.
In addition to the shared facility, SAISD and the city also share a vehicle wash system, fueling system and oil storage facility. The fueling system and vehicle wash systems were joint purchases, with each entity contributing half of the cost. The city maintains the fueling system and bills the district, and the district maintains the washing system and bills the city. The city and district also share office space on the site of the maintenance complex. The Transportation coordinator performed an analysis in which he estimated the shared diesel fuel purchases saved the district $9,000 annually.
The Transportation coordinator, service manager and mechanics said in addition to shared facilities, they have the opportunity to share knowledge and some tools with city mechanics.
The Transportation coordinator said he is not aware of any problems with the shared services with the city. The arrangement has allowed the two entities to save money by sharing costs, space and equipment.
SAISD and the City of San Angelo successfully share a maintenance facility, fueling, and washing systems.
The Transportation Department does not pursue opportunities for coordination with other school districts in the area. Coordination allows agencies or organizations to share services and pool resources, which can result in cost savings or in providing services that would otherwise not be available.
The Transportation Department provides driver training and retraining, has plans to expand its driver training curriculum, has a training staff and is interested in starting an annual bus ROAD-EO. At SAISD, inexperienced drivers receive 20 hours of training, 10 of which is dedicated to qualifying for a commercial driver license (CDL). Experienced bus drivers with a CDL receive four hours of training. As required by state law, all drivers must pass the 20-hour School Bus Driver Safety Training Certification Course, which is taught by the state's Regional Education Service Centers and take the eight-hour School Bus Driver Safety Training Recertification Course when their certification expires.
The special education supervisor is one of Regional Education Service Center XV's (Region 15) instructors for these classes. He designed a small obstacle course in the parking lot of the maintenance facility for driver training and practice. The course includes railroad tracks, stop signs and a window box to check window positions.
The department began a retraining initiative in 2000 and plans to provide eight hours of retraining to all drivers each summer. The retraining will focus on safety issues and stress management. Drivers are also retrained if they are involved in accidents. They are not paid for the four hours of mandatory retraining, which is an incentive to avoid preventable accidents.
The department created three driver/trainer positions in 2000. The driver/trainers provide the retraining. The driver/trainers would like to expand the training to include hands-on training for emergency situations. The driver/trainers, special education supervisor and Transportation coordinator plan to develop an expanded training curriculum this summer. The Transportation coordinator and special education supervisor said they would also like to set up a bus ROAD-EO program at their district.
Most of the small districts in Tom Green County provide a minimum level of driver training. Providing additional training or annual retraining in small districts is difficult due to limited resources. Grape Creek ISD Transportation Department recently contracted with the SAISD Transportation Department to provide two four-hour courses on driver safety training to 32 drivers. The training covered Texas laws on bus pre-trip inspections, emergency evacuations, bus loading and unloading, bus stops, railroad crossing hazards, stop signs, backing up a bus and bus mirror adjustment. SAISD charged Grape Creek ISD $15.00 per hour for the courses, for a total of $120.
In the transit industry, training is one of the simplest ways to coordinate agency resources. The Gulf Coast Coordinating Council in Galveston and Brazoria counties developed a safety committee dedicated to promoting safety regulations for operating passenger and cargo vehicles in the community. The committee developed driver safety standards and works to coordinate training efforts among agencies to maximize their resources. Examples of coordinated training provided include computer training for member agency administrative staff; passenger assistance training and driver safety training for 14 drivers of member agencies, and transit bus emergency evacuation training for 32 drivers, operators and supervisors of member agencies.
Investigate coordinating with other districts in Tom Green County to provide expanded driver training and retraining.
SAISD should investigate opening expanded training to other districts in the area or providing training services to other districts on a contractual basis. The SAISD Transportation Department has certified trainers on staff, has a training curriculum in place, is planning expansion of that curriculum, and is investigating implementing a bus ROAD-EO. SAISD could assist other districts by offering training resources for a reasonable fee.
If agreeable, SAISD should meet with the transportation directors of the other districts in Tom Green County to discuss interest in and options for coordinated driver training. Some districts may be interested in contracting with SAISD, as Grape Creek ISD did, to provide specialized training as needed. Some districts may be interested in sending drivers to SAISD for initial driver training or annual retraining. SAISD could charge for the trainer's time and materials to cover the cost of providing the training.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The Transportation coordinator, special education supervisor, and driver/trainers complete the expanded driver training curriculum. September 2001 2. The Transportation coordinator develops a list of training services that could be provided to other local districts. September 2001 3. The Transportation coordinator meets with transportation directors and superintendents of other school districts to discuss options and interest in coordinated driver training with SAISD. October 2001
This recommendation can be implemented within existing resources. The Transportation Department could charge back the cost of training to the districts receiving the training.