Frisco Independent School District’s maintenance team uses green initiatives and years of industry experience to maintain their fleet of 201 buses.
Team aims for efficiency, quality service
Frisco Independent School District
Frisco ISD’s maintenance team of 15 operates out of two fully staffed shops, both designed as “drive through” shops to give technicians adequate working room.
In addition to automated fueling system and comprehensive fleet maintenance software, Fleet Supervisor Howard Keeling says having well trained, experienced and dedicated personnel is the shop’s greatest strength.
“In the last three years, we have had two first-place finishers, two second-place finishers and two third-place finishers in the Texas Best School Bus Technician competition. Two technicians competed at the America’s Best School Bus Inspector and Technician competition, with one of them finishing fourth,” Keeling says.
The shop’s 11 technicians have a total of 53 certifications from the Texas Association of School Bus Technicians, 92 ASE certifications (36 of which are in school bus), seven master ASE certifications, and years of industry and military experience.
Each is assigned an equal number of buses through the shop’s comprehensive preventive maintenance inspection program, which provides increased accountability for maintenance performed on Frisco ISD’s buses.
Karen Sadler, Frisco ISD’s transportation director, has also played a major role in the shop’s success, having implemented a variety of earth-friendly initiatives such as a no-idle policy and recycling programs for oil, filters and antifreeze.
Both Keeling and Sadler started their careers as bus drivers, an attribute that helps greatly with fostering good relations between technicians and drivers. “Our technicians treat our bus drivers as their customers,” Keeling says. “Our dispatcher transfers all maintenance-related calls to our shops, and the technicians talk directly to our drivers on the two-way radio system.”
So far, budgeting has been the shop’s greatest challenge, Keeling says, but taking time to develop cost-saving measures, standardizing the fleet and utilizing bus warranties has proven to be worthwhile. “With less funds available each year, the challenge is to make sure that the services we provide are maintained at their highest level. Safety always comes first,” he adds.
— JENNIFER WASHINGTON
Fleet: 201 school buses, 126 other vehicles
Total shop staff: 15
Number of bus bays: 12
Annual mileage: 1.7 million
Students transported daily: 6,000
Schools served: 48