The Board of Education held a workshop on Student Transportation and the Student Assignment Plan last night.
The Transportation Department and STA have been working closely to ensure a smooth start to the 2017-18 school year. Here is a brief outline of some of the steps being taken:
Parents will receive their student's bus schedule via mail earlier this year than in the past. In addition, the Student Transportation website is being enhanced to provide more information and more user friendly for parents.
A new phone system has been implemented. This allows parents to use a single phone number to contact OPS and/or STA with their transportation questions or concerns. By sharing additional limited student information, both OPS and STA will be able to answer parent questions regarding transportation. OPS and STA will also contract with North End Teleservices (NET) for temporary telephone call-center support, at the beginning of the school year. All of this will enhance the level of customer service that parents receive. However, parents need to be aware there will still be high call volume, which is typical at the beginning of any school year.
Student/Bus Tracking Application
Student Transportation is in the process of identifying a pilot for a student/bus tracking system. The goal is to pilot the program during the 2017-18 school year.
Incident Reporting Log
Transportation is working with IMS to develop an incident reporting log, which will help to track incidents. This will allow transportation to quickly notify multiple people of any issues/concerns.
The Transportation Department has been collaborating with Human Resources to recruit bus drivers. STA is also providing a monthly report to OPS on the number of employees and ongoing recruitment efforts.
OPS has identified approximately 332 routes and STA currently has 427 bus drivers on staff
As part of the Student Assignment Plan, there were additional changes made for routing efficiency. The changes are:
- Consolidation of Middle School/High School routes in close proximity (as necessary) (example: Bryan High/Bryan Middle and Benson High/Monroe Middle.
- Maximum ride time was increased to up to 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Seating capacity was increased to 55 for elementary and 52 for middle/high school
- Some morning routes may begin at 6 a.m. (This will impact less than 200 high school and middle school students).
Initial detailed routing information was given to STA on June 7 of this year and will continue to be updated as changes are necessary. STA and OPS will host a preliminary bus route dry run day on August 9. This will give drivers an opportunity to become familiar with their route and address any potential concerns at that time.
Student Assignment Plan (SAP)
Members of the Student Assignment Plan Committee also provided an update and review of the changes taking place with Board of Education members at last night's meeting. The SAP committee has been communicating with impacted families since December 2015. Staff are continuing to contact the approximately 800 identified students that are impacted and have not notified OPS of what their decision is. A TAC call center support team will be in place in August 2017 to answer parents questions as the new school year begins.