Tuesday, August 9, 2016
By Denise Dick
City school district bus drivers got a peek Monday at the systems to map out bus routes and enable parents to gauge when to send their children to the bus stop.
About 45 bus drivers attended a training session at Wilson Programs of Promise. The Ohio Department of Education decertified all district bus drivers when a review found incomplete driver and bus maintenance records as well as no documentation of driver training.
“We have to do what we have to do to come into compliance,” said Stephen Stohla, interim superintendent.
The district already has the software, but the ODE reviewers noted that it wasn’t being used because of a lack of training and outdated equipment.
Community Bus Service, which already buses city school students, provided training at no extra charge.
Transfinder produces bus routes, and Zonar is a GPS system.
Harry Evans, the district’s chief of operations, explained that before a driver begins a route, he or she completes a series of checks, ensuring the bus is ready for the road. That information is sent to mechanics so it can be addressed.
For a post check, a driver must walk the length of the bus, making sure no children remain.
Zonar allows parents to monitor the location of a child’s bus so they know when to send their children to the bus stop. Krish Mohip, school district chief executive director, has said that feature will be beneficial during winter.
Because all of the drivers were decertified, each driver had to get a background check by both the Ohio Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
Until the drivers’ background checks are done, the district is relying on Community Bus Service for student transport, but regular bus drivers may ride along to ensure they know the routes.
Because Youngstown Early College classes begin today, the company will transport those students.
School begins for the rest of the district Aug. 22.