Neighboring New York school districts Livonia and Geneseo signed an agreement to have Michael Dallessandro at the helm of both of their transportation operations.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY, N.Y. — Livonia Central School District (CSD) has a new transportation director: industry veteran Michael Dallessandro.
Geneseo CSD also has a new transportation director: industry veteran Michael Dallessandro.
The neighboring districts recently signed a shared services agreement to have Dallessandro at the helm of both of their transportation operations.
Dallessandro, who previously served as transportation director at Niagara Wheatfield CSD in Niagara Falls, is now an employee of Livonia CSD and is splitting his time 60% with Livonia and 40% with the smaller Geneseo CSD.
The joint venture came about after the retirement of Martha "Marty" Scala, the longtime transportation director for Livonia. Geneseo had an interim director, "so the timing was right" for the move to a shared position, Dallessandro told SBF.
Livonia has a fleet of about 40 school buses and smaller vehicles. Geneseo has a fleet of about 20 buses and cars. Although they now have the same leader, the operations will remain separate.
"At this point, there is no plan for a merger of the two operations," Dallessandro said.
A key savings for the two districts will be in the benefits portion.
“By having one director, there is only one health plan, dental plan, etc. and one retirement system contribution,” Dallessandro said. “In New York, that's about $11,000 to $15,000 total annually.”
There are other, smaller savings, such as having one person instead of two putting in mileage for incidental auto use, one person attending conferences and one computer.
One of Dallessandro's initial goals in his new role is to develop a common bus specification that both districts can use to purchase the same types of buses from the New York state contract.
He said he also hopes to implement routing software for Livonia, which is currently doing routing by hand. Geneseo is using Versatrans software, so the goal is to get Livonia on the same system.
There are also potential facility changes on the horizon.
"Livonia is in a leased bus garage, so their facility future will need some study," Dallessandro said. "Geneseo is currently discussing building a new transportation center since they have outgrown theirs."
The two operations are using two different radio systems for dispatching, which Dallessandro said is a challenge that will have to be addressed. But he said that, overall, the new venture is off to a good start.
"The staff and boards of education in both districts have been absolutely terrific to make me feel welcome and provide me the tools and guidance needed to be successful," he said. "I am truly excited to have this opportunity."
Dallessandro, who has written many articles and serves on the editorial advisory board for SBF, began his career in school transportation in 1988 at Kenmore-Tonawanda Union Free School District in Buffalo, N.Y.