|
|
|
The Dansville Online
  • Retooling Dansville Central School transportation

  • In an hour-long presentation to the board, Kathleen Furneaux, executive director of Syracuse-based Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, spoke about 16 audit considerations for the district's transportation department.

    • email print
  • After a student dragging incident in January, Dansville Central School commissioned a transportation safety audit.  The school board and school patrons heard results of the audit during the March 27 board of education meeting.
    In an hour-long presentation to the board, Kathleen Furneaux, executive director of Syracuse-based Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, spoke about 16 audit considerations.
    Although it seems busing mishaps have increased in Dansville this year, in comparison with districts of similar size and within the same geographic region, Dansville’s accident rate over the past three years is considered average and consistent.
    “As you can see, your accident rate is not alarming. It’s pretty good. It’s about average,” she said.
    Problems within the department were not restricted to just accident issues, Furneaux reported. Other problems within the department include a perceived lack of support for personnel from the administrative staff, plus a departmental inconsistency in student discipline.
    In what could have prevented a recent incident last month when a student was unintentionally locked inside a bus after it was parked back inside the garage, Furneaux’s report had already concluded that student attendance was not being effectively recorded on buses.
    Other problems include a somewhat disorganized garage maintenance documentation process; plus potential dangers for maintenance personnel working alone, among others.
    Regarding the loading zone, Furneaux suggested a plan to redesign the bus loop to separate each mode of transportation – school buses, cars and pedestrians – from converging.
    The most pressing issue seemed to be the risk of tragedy in the campus’ loading zone during the 3:10 p.m. release.
    “It is extremely unsafe, at least it was at the time I was there,” she said, adding that on the day she was observing, she saw four near-misses between students and a school bus.
    She suggested buses should have the chance to get back to the school from the first p.m. run and enter the loading zone before students are released for the second run. This may require changing the second release time to accomodate the buses to return.
    She said building principals are doing a “yoeman’s job” trying to keep an eye on all the students leaving the buildings during this time.
    In a later interview, Superintendent Paul Alioto said rectifying the safety issues on the campus bus loop would be the district’s main priority for the department heading into September. Less pressing issues would be tackled later.
    Furneaux said that moving to shared services at this point has become a distraction for the department, and is not recommending doing so until problems are solved.
    Page 2 of 2 - Overall, it could take two to three years to fully fix all of these problems.
    At the end of her presentation, she complimented the district, stating,?“fundamentally, you have a safe department.”
    Peter Bacon, board vice president, acknowledged that the board has unintentionally taken the department for granted, and said, “Everybody does a great job and this report shows that,” regardless of the administrative functions that need to be cleaned up. Alioto said at the beginning of the meeting that the district has complete confidence in the leadership and crew of the transportation department.
      • calendar