TAMAYA, N.M. — Several key pupil transportation issues, including security, transit encroachment and industry collaboration, were discussed at the National School Transportation Association’s (NSTA) winter meeting, attended by more than 100 representatives in late January.
To address the issue of school transportation security, the NSTA board voted to join with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) to form what’s being called the Pupil Transportation Security Task Force. The NSTA named Bob Ramsdell of Durham School Services and Ron Kinney of Laidlaw Education Services to the task force.
The task force’s charter is to identify security risks in school transportation and to formulate strategies to address those risks. Areas of interest will be operations, facilities, vehicles and personnel. The task force will review resources already available to the industry and recommend new resources when necessary. It will also assist in the effort to lobby on Capitol Hill for funding and support of enhanced pupil transportation security.
NSTA officials also reported increased collaboration with the NAPT and NASDPTS. For more than a year, two representatives of the three associations have been meeting to identify common goals, barriers and areas for cooperation. The meetings have been facilitated by Michael Cancelliere, VP and general manager of International Truck and Engine Corp.’s Bus Vehicle Center, and David Hillman, International’s school bus marketing director.
This working group is variously referred to as the MOU group (Memorandum of Understanding), the three Ns or PASTA (Partnership Among School Transportation Associations).
NAPT President Steve Kalmes and NASDPTS President Pete Japikse discussed ways that the associations could work together to strengthen the industry. The formation of the Pupil Transportation Security Task Force was a concrete example of the collaborative effort of the three organizations.
“It’s very important that we present a unified industry in regard to our presence in Washington, D.C.,” NSTA President Dale Krapf said. “We visited D.C. last week and had the most productive meetings I have ever been associated with in my Washington activity. We met with high-ranking folks from the Transportation Security Administration as well as the American Trucking Associations.”
Also discussed at the meeting was the NSTA’s recent partnership with the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), which resulted in the NSTA moving its office into UMA headquarters in Alexandria, Va.
UMA President Victor Parra told NSTA members of the benefits that both associations will reap from the partnership.
The Yellow School Bus Safety Council, affiliated with the NSTA, met at the winter meeting and approved a PowerPoint presentation for use in driver safety meetings.
The council, which is developing safety resources for the pupil transportation community, is looking for new members, both public and private. For more information, visit www.yellowbuses.org.
Meanwhile, the NSTA’s board accepted a proposed slate of officers and directors for the 2005-07 term:
President: John Corr of the Trans Group
President-Elect: Barry Stock of Durham School Services
Secretary/Treasurer: Donald Fowler of Fowler Bus
Director, Region 1: Carey Paster of First Student Inc.
Director, Region 4: Dennis Hammell of First Student Inc.
Director at Large: Kevin Clifford of Huntington Coach
Director at Large: Pete Settle of Petermann Bus
The NSTA’s 41st convention will be held July 17 to 20 in Washington, D.C., at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel. Next year’s winter meeting will be held Jan. 21 to 25 in Maui, Hawaii, at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua. For more information about the NSTA, visit www.yellowbuses.org or call (703) 684-3200.