This year’s Top School District Fleets list may look a little different, due to the COVID-19 pandemic slowing operations for many across the U.S.
Not as nearly as many yellow buses were on the road this year compared to 2019 (the last time we compiled our Top District Fleets list). As a result, we decided to move forward with a different approach this year and condense the list to the Top 25 based on the total responses we received from a survey sent out to readers. (See the full list in our October print or digital editions.)
We're all used to seeing larger metropolitan districts reflected in this list. However, not all districts responded to the survey and SBF opted against including past data because of concerns about accuracy after fleet changes due to COVID.
Even though numbers took a hit across the board, Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools managed to secure its spot in the top three, moving from No. 3 in 2019 to No. 1. The district reported a total of 1,543 route buses, down slightly from 1,636 two years ago. (The Top District Fleets list is ranked by number of route buses.)
Other notable figures reported by Gwinnett County include:
- Increased school bus service for the 2021-22 school year compared to last school year.
- A moderate discomfort about driver shortage.
- Higher starting hourly pay for bus drivers compared to last school year.
Not far behind at No. 2 is Wake County (N.C.) Public School System, which is making its first appearance on the Top District Fleets list. The district boasts a total of 850 route buses, with an additional 400 buses operated by contractors.
Other districts that made a first appearance on SBF’s Top District Fleets list, include:
- Cherokee County (Ga.) Public Schools, joining the list at No. 8 with 404 route buses.
- Elgin Area School District U-46 in Elgin, Ill., coming in at No. 10 with 300 route buses.
- Bossier Parish Schools in Benton, La., taking spot No. 15 with 227 route buses.
- Mansfield (Texas) Independent School District, entering at No. 17 with 197 route buses.
- Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Independent School District 196 in Rosemount, Minn., joining at No. 21 with 227 route buses.
- Livingston Educational Service Agency in Howell, Mich., coming in at No. 23 with 171 route buses.
- Wilson County (Tenn.) Schools, taking spot No. 24 with 140 route buses.
- Rockwood R-VI School District in Eureka, Mo., entering at No. 25 with 109 route buses.
As more school districts get back on track, we encourage you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your district’s name, number of route buses, and contact info, and we’ll send you the survey when we’re compiling the Top Districts list next year. If you have about 150 or more school buses in route service (including any that are operated by contractors), you should be in the running.
Be sure to look out for additional coverage from this years Top District Fleets list in our upcoming November issue. There we'll detail the level of driver shortage districts experienced this year, in addition to average hourly pay for drivers.