Posted - 11/20/2012 : 8:37:45 PM
| BOCES: Drivers need new training
November 19, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald
JOHNSTOWN - Bus drivers from the Greater Johnstown School District have to update their driver certification to complete the transition to a shared transportation service with Gloversville, the local BOCES says.
The Johnstown and Gloversville school districts are now sharing transportation services and a Gloversville bus garage, and the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services is coordinating the operation.
In a news release, BOCES said it found paperwork errors regarding Johnstown drivers.
"During a routine records check, we discovered lapses in required refresher training and physical exams. We are doing our due diligence now, and taking the necessary steps to bring these drivers up to par before adding them as BOCES employees," said BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel.
BOCES has enlisted the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES School Transportation Services to provide the remedial training.
The drivers will become part of HFM BOCES shared transportation service July 1, 2013.
"Some of the paperwork has been poorly kept by Johnstown, so we have began to address those things," Michel said. "Our job now is to simply get the paperwork in order and squared away so we don't have the DMV come say we haven't completed our part of the deal."
He said some of the problems were major, such as yearly physicals of drivers and a routine series of tests that should be completed every year.
"In order to keep [their] license, they must do a series of tests and training every year, so what has happened is they haven't been as fastidious as they should have been in keeping the record straight. Obviously, if we don't have proof, we have to assume they don't have it," Michel said.
Johnstown Superintendent Robert DeLilli said when the transition to a shared transportation service started taking place, officials discovered the lapses in the information caused by employee error.
DeLilli said the yearly training will be completed within 30 days and the drivers still will be allowed to drive the students, but the certifications will need to be updated.
The shared transportation service has been in the works after changes in state law allowed the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts to enter into an agreement through BOCES. Cost savings will be realized through shared administration, mechanics and maintenance at the Gloversville bus garage, the news release said.
School bus drivers in New York state are licensed by the state Department of Motor Vehicles but operate under safety regulations defined by the New York State Department of Education.
"Bus drivers are one of the critical connections between students and our schools, and safety of our students is always our first priority. To help ensure safe transportation for our children, we are making sure every driver is fully compliant with the safety regulations defined by law," Michel said in the news release.
Michel said there were no problems with the Gloversville drivers' paperwork.