ONTARIO, Calif. — The California Association of School Transportation Officials (CASTO) held its 40th Annual State Conference March 15-17.
Keynote speakers included Dr. Cal LeMon, president of Executive Enrichment Inc. and honorary life member of CASTO, and Pete Baxter, state pupil transportation director in Indiana.
The association also recognized its 2008 School Bus Safety Poster Contest winners, held a vendor show, announced election results and named its Members of the Year.
The conference’s breakout sessions covered special-needs transportation, managing expenses and alternative fuels, among other topics.
During her seminar “What Can FCMAT Do For You?”, Michelle Plumbtree, chief management analyst for FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team), explained that the organization assists school agencies in identifying, resolving and preventing financial problems. “Our role is to point out what you’re doing right and provide recommendations that will positively impact your current operations,” she said.
Bob Austin, CASTO life member and former president, emphasized the need to carefully manage expenses, increase efficiency and improve quality control and employee accountability at school bus operations. “If you’re the boss, it’s OK to say ‘Show me’ and require a paper trail,” he explained.
In “Who Should Attend an IEP Meeting?”, Sheryl Boe, field supervisor at Kern County Superintendent of Schools in Bakersfield, encouraged transportation officials to become more involved in the decision-making process with regard to how children’s IEPs will affect their operations.
Also addressing special-needs transportation, Transportation Director Pete Meslin and Operations Supervisor Danny Lesser from Newport-Mesa Unified School District in Costa Mesa gave a joint presentation titled “Transportation in Support of Therapy.” Both pointed to the benefits of working closely with special-ed administrators and parents to coordinate service locations and times.
During his session on alternative fuels, Ted Olsen, plant manager at Delta Liquid Energy, provided attendees with information about propane-powered vehicles such as the Blue Bird propane Vision.