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Study recommends hiring new staff to handle transportation issues for county schools

| January 13, 2020, 10:14 AM

The consultant contracted by the Board of Education to examine Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ Transportation Division has recommended additional staffing and improvements to the way in which both technology is used and business processes are implemented.

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The recommendations in the 179-page report done by Prismatic Services, Inc., provided to the Board and the public last week, include the hiring of three staff dedicated to bus routing and a fourth to function as the administrator of the geographic information system (GIS) used to route buses. Two other personnel enhancements are also proposed in the recommendations. Additionally, various technology-based and bus operations infrastructure improvements were recommended.

In his recommended Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget delivered to the Board last month, Superintendent George Arlotto proposed adding seven positions, including routing specialists and positions to enhance communications with drivers, schools, and families. Dr. Arlotto is also recommending that funding be provided to support the various technology enhancements recommended within the report.

In its report, Prismatic commended AACPS for its driver training program, transparency of policies regarding ridership and non-transport zones, vehicle maintenance management program, management of regular transportation of students to athletic contests and the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, and new contractor pay system.

The report discusses school start and dismissal times but makes no formal recommendation on the issue. Instead, it recognizes that this is a decision appropriately left to the Board of Education.

Among Prismatic’s other recommendations:

  • The adoption of two online systems, one to receive and track community input and a second to allow for more efficient communication within the division about operational issues as they occur. Combined the systems would cost between $36,800 and $159,200, according to the report.
  • The creation of an automated workflow system for “Transportation Action Requests.”
  • Offering all contractors an incentive to adopt GPS systems prior to the end of their established contracts.
  • Developing improved written and communicated regulations and/or guidelines for bus routing procedures.

The complete report can be found online here.

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