Our transportation department seems to be running smoothly, but I think it could be run more efficiently. How do I know if there’s a need for a third-party efficiency audit?
Mark A. Walsh, a school transportation consultant, responds:
There are as many different reasons for a program review as there are operating methods in student transportation programs. Districts pursue outside advisors for several reasons:
• To provide a fresh look at the way the program is operated
• When advice is needed to determine the pros and cons of outsourcing
• When internal expertise does not cover specialized areas such as labor contract issues, contractor management or bid specifications
• When public or administrative oversight would benefit from an independent review of the program
Although independent program reviews can frequently provide recommendations and procedures to improve the cost efficiency of transportation systems, these reviews can also enhance the overall operating effectiveness of the department. Additionally, a qualified independent consultant can provide a program review that allows the administration to gain a level of understanding and comfort with the department, thereby allowing the district to focus on other areas of the educational system.
Pragmatically, although the consultant may provide recommendations consistent with those already offered by the program management, an independent consultant is frequently successful due to his experience, non-biased perspectives and ability to justify the recommendations from his “outsider” position.
Contact: Mark A. Walsh, Transportation Advisory Services, (800) 233-3251; [email protected]