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EWSD Transportation Update - 01.08.19

At the EWSD Board meeting on Tuesday, January 8, the Board received the following update regarding transportation.

 

January 8, 2019

Implementation of Student Transportation Plan Status Update

 

ANTICIPATED TIMELINE UPDATE:

  • Three Trainees continue to be in the process of obtaining CDL permit. Earliest they could be ready for service is now mid-February. Two other promising applicants are working through initial checks and screening. Minimum 6 to 8  weeks until ready for service.
  • The likelihood of getting six licensed drivers to implement a fully integrated approach is looking very challenging and extending far beyond the time Administration imagined. Therefore, the district’s Transportation Manager is working with our contractor to create contingency plans around having only two, possibly three, drivers. The benefit would be to get some service, most likely limited to K-3 or perhaps K-5, on the road sooner, rather than later. The drawback will be a completely autonomous system, similar to the routes created this year to serve only the high school and technical center. 

 

WINS:

  • Conducted annual Driver Training January 2 with Mountain Transit returning and new drivers.
  • Week of December 17-21 individual bus preparation meetings with Principals at all Village schools. 

 

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Drafting revisions to the district’s B4: Drug & Alcohol Testing: Transportation Employees, as well as administrative procedures, to have a more comprehensive and descriptive set of documents. The Board will be seeing the revisions and procedures in February.
  • Scheduled bus evacuation drills for Hiawatha (missed in the first round of drills and the final remaining school needing to conduct an annual evacuation drill)
  • Working with EWSD Technology Department, Communications, and Transfinder staff to allow Blackboard robo-calls by bus route to notify families of late buses & other operational irregularities.

 

THREATS:

  • Difficulties applicants and trainees are having with the testing and permitting process are making retention a real challenge.
  • Lots of market pressure on existing staff to pursue other employment - more hours, possible benefits, and additional sign-on bonuses.
  • Staff continues to work with Westford contractor CCR & Town Highway Dept to find constructive solutions to unique challenges in this area (i.e. winter road conditions, understaffing in Hwy Dept).
  • Colchester Islands arrangement and self-performing transportation for 2 ADL students - unchanged.

 

OTHER INFORMATION:

  • Mountain Transit Essex Lead Driver / Supervisor Muriel Ramos resigned from leadership duties over winter break. She will continue to drive a school bus route for our District. Mountain Transit has put two experienced managers in place and developed a transition plan which EWSD staff is comfortable with.