At the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s annual conference in Greensboro, N.C., Rick Rothberg, coordinator of operations and training for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, made a presentation on cost-cutting and service-boosting measures taken by his school district.
Changes throughout the transportation department, which handles transportation of 72,000 students daily, will save the district an estimated $13 million this year. Here are some of the actions taken at Miami-Dade:
• Any instances when buses arrive more than 10 minutes early or five minutes late are recorded to determine methods of improving accuracy.
• Routing staff are asked which buses are needed for which routes. Maintenance staff are asked which buses need replacing.
• Worked within the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act to change the district policy of taking an employee back after treatment for a drug/alcohol violation.
• Opened the district’s ninth transportation center and staffed it with employees from other centers with fewer routes. Employees were cross-trained to perform more than one duty, rather than having separate employees for every task.
• Order all new buses with air conditioning, but don’t retrofit old buses with air conditioning (eliminating retrofits saved $1.8 million).
• Implementing an online field trip scheduling system enabled schools to input their own field trip information on the Web, and software automatically communicated the information to payroll to bill the school for the trip.
• Moved to a Web-based IEP system with information stored online where it’s easily-accessible.
• Installing child alert systems on all buses prevents children from being left on the bus.
• Investing in a fueling system enables drivers to refuel their own buses efficiently.
• Centralizing the routing process simplified management of nine transportation centers.
For more on this presentation, see the December issue of SCHOOL BUS FLEET or contact Rothberg at