Lead mechanic Edgar Carrasco (back row,
middle) says he and his colleagues depend on
parts clerk Oscar Hernandez (front row, middle) to help them get their jobs done. Carrasco
says Hernandez is a great asset to the district.
Shop implements cost-effective, creative practices
Clint Independent School District
El Paso, Texas
The transportation shop team at Clint ISD strives to receive as much training as possible so that they have the knowledge and skills to perform most work in-house.
Lead mechanic Edgar Carrasco says they attend vendor-provided seminars as well as classes at state conferences, where they can obtain ASE certifications. Two techs are certified welders, and four are Maxon and Ricon wheelchair lift-certified. Also, five techs have associate degrees in diesel or gasoline technology.
The staff performs its own bus safety inspections, which Carrasco says is cost-effective because the transportation department isn’t charged multiple inspection fees if repairs need to be made.
“Three technicians serve as inspectors. Each is responsible for about 30 buses. We evaluate each technician by the number of comebacks, road calls, etc.,” he explains. “They compete against one another, which motivates them to perform better.”
(A state official visits the shop monthly to perform an audit.)
Integral to keeping the buses in good condition is the shop’s 111-point preventive maintenance inspection program, along with oil and coolant analyses, which help the technicians anticipate repairs.
The shop has saved approximately $11,500 annually over the last four years through its upholstery program. When repairing damaged seat covers, the team only replaces with new material the side that’s been torn. The techs sometimes sew on eye-catching patches for the students.
Other creative efforts include making driver’s seat organizers for the buses and building an injector extractor for Caterpillar C7 engines.
The technicians have a strong working relationship with the district’s school bus drivers and often offer training for them.
One year, the instruction consisted of a pre- and post-trip “fair.”
“We set up tables, and each table had a theme — for example, air brakes and suspension,” Carrasco says. “We had the drivers look at a suspension system in a bus and explained how brakes work and why they have to do a brake test.”
— KELLY ROHER
Fleet: 92 school buses, 70 other vehicles
Total shop staff: 8
Number of bus bays: 3
Annual mileage: Over 1 million
Students transported: Over 5,000
Schools served: 13