Transportation Department

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1 Transportation Background Organization Chart The chart below provides an overview of the organizational structure and staffing levels for the Parma City School District s (PCSD) transportation department. Transportation Department Organization Function The primary responsibility of the transportation department is to provide a safe, efficient and economical method of getting students to and from school scheduled in a way that the best educational interests of the students can be served. The district provides transportation for students who attend private schools based on the same criteria as their own students. The district s transportation department operates its own fleet of school buses and also assists with transportation for high school students using the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Transportation 5-1

2 Summary of Operations In FY , the average daily membership for PCSD, as reported by the Ohio Department of Education, was 13,116. District vehicles for the regular transportation program traveled 600,840 miles carrying an estimated 4,229 public and 1,820 non-public students daily. RTA transported an additional164 public and 115 non-public students daily. Also, there were 8 public and 571 nonpublic students whose parents received payment in lieu of transportation. In total, transportation services were provided for 6,907 regular students. The special education program transported approximately 382 students daily through different transportation means. District vehicles, buses and station wagons, traveling over 267,300 miles, carried 284, or 75 percent, of the special education students. Other special needs students were transported as follows: contracted vehicle other than yellow bus - 70, taxi - 27 and parent/guardian contract - 1. Overall, PCSD s vehicles traveled over 866,140 miles transporting more than 6,333 students on 136 routes. In addition, RTA transported 279 students. Combining all methods of transportation, the district provided for the transportation of 7,289 public and non-public students at a cost of $3,490,533. Approximately 30 percent, or $1,043,468, of the transportation expenditures were funded by the state. Transportation 5-2

3 Staffing The following table displays the staffing levels for the transportation department. Table 5-1: Staffing Level Position Number of Employees Full Time Equivalents Transportation Supervisor Transportation Assistant Supervisor Bus Drivers hours Bus Drivers hours Spare Drivers hours Bus Monitors hours Lead Mechanic Mechanics Mechanic Helpers Secretary Clerk Total Source: PCSD transportation department Note: PCSD employs 20 substitute drivers that are not guaranteed any hours. Transportation 5-3

4 Financial Data The following table shows the actual transportation expenditures for FY s and and the budgeted expenditures for FY The transportation budget shown below includes the cost of field trips and repairs to other vehicles which are not related to home-to-school transportation. Therefore these costs have been excluded in the operational analysis performed throughout this section. Component Table 5-2: Financial Table Actual FY Expenditures Actual FY Expenditures Budgeted FY Expenditures Salaries Benefits Purchased Services Materials & Supplies Miscellaneous $2,172,786 $833,652 $318,228 $297,794 $40,486 $2,166,633 $775,037 $397,585 $272,794 $42,664 $1,960,839 $803,401 $197,860 $182,500 $45,500 Subtotal $3,662,946 $3,654,713 $3,190,100 Capital $583,846 $419,499 $205,000 Total $4,246,792 $4,074,212 $3,395,100 Source: FY , FY Reports and the amended temporary appropriation, November 16, The transportation expenditures, not considering capital, stayed fairly constant when comparing FY to FY The business manager explained the 7 percent decrease in FY benefits was due to a reduction in workers compensation costs and less severance pay. The 25 percent increase in purchased services was for an increase in outside repairs and contracted services. Capital expenditures were for school bus purchases. The district has not adopted a permanent appropriation measure for FY Rather, PCSD is operating under a temporary appropriation measure. The treasurer, in order to adopt a budget within the certificate Transportation 5-4

5 of estimated resources, modified various budget requests from administrators at lesser amounts than were requested. The FY transportation budget, not including capital, is approximately 13 percent less than the previous two fiscal years actual expenditures and does not appear to be reasonable. Further discussions on the budget is included in F5.12 Transportation 5-5

6 The comparative analysis throughout this section includes information on the school districts from the following table which details some of the basic operating statistics for each of the peer districts. Table 5-3: Operational Statistics and Ratios FY Parma Canton Dayton South-Western Operational Statistics: Eligible Students - Regular students - Special needs - Total Expenditures - Regular students - Special needs - Total State Reimbursements - Regular students - Special needs - Bus purchase allowance - Other bus reimbursement 2 - Total Miles Driven - Regular students - Special needs - Total 6, ,289 $2,128,971 $1,361,562 $3,490,533 $657,278 $386,190 $76,988 $0 $1,120, , , ,140 5, ,005 $1,137,607 $585,789 $1,723,396 $489,612 $152,678 $161,720 $0 $804, , , ,808 21,263 1,045 22,308 $10,914,797 $2,237,015 $13,151,812 $2,590,332 $635,970 $475,125 $0 $3,701,427 2,568, ,640 3,216,420 13, ,332 $3,257,465 $551,261 $3,808,726 $1,195,798 $184,750 $279,708 $292,691 $1,952,947 1,506, ,600 1,834,560 Operational Ratios: Regular Students: Yellow Bus - Cost per Mile - Cost per Bus - Cost per Student - Students per Bus - Cost per Student all methods $3.61 $34,758 $ $308 $3.49 $24,429 $ $206 $3.70 $54,059 $ $513 $2.13 $32,464 $ $248 Special Needs Students: - Cost per Student all methods $3,564 $1,208 $2,141 $3,224 School Sites - Public - Non-public Active Buses Spare Buses Square Miles in District Source: FY T-1, T-2 and T-11 Forms; FY Report 1 PCSD miles includes mileage for board owned station wagons used in student transportation. 2 Other bus reimbursements are for buses identified as non-public or handicap. (F5.11) Transportation 5-6

7 The following table provides the number of staff and FTE by position for each of the peer districts. Table 5-4: Peer District Staffing Level Comparison Staffing Parma Canton Dayton South-Western No. FTE No. FTE No. FTE No. FTE Managers Supervisors Trainers Dispatchers/Routers/Radio Bus Drivers Bus Attendants Mechanics/Servicemen Clerical Total Source: School districts transportation departments. Note: PCSD transportation department s transportation supervisor and assistant transportation supervisor do the routing and training and the clerk does the dispatching. Included with supervisors count is the lead mechanic. Transportation 5-7

8 Customer Satisfaction Survey A Customer Satisfaction Survey was distributed to a sample of 290 employees. The purpose of the survey was to obtain employees feedback and perceptions of transportation related issues. Responses were received from145 employees for a response rate of 50 percent. Of the 145 responses, 82 were completed while 63 were returned as not applicable. The survey solicited responses to 12 attributes concerning transportation functions, procedures and policies. The survey allowed responses with the following values: 5 - strongly agree, 4 - agree, 3 - neutral, 2 - disagree and 1 - strongly disagree. The respondents rating of the 12 attributes ranged from 2.02 to The overall weighted average score was 2.89 which is below neutral and indicates a level of dissatisfaction in the district s transportation services. The average service time of the respondents was 14 years. The transportation survey was distributed to the district employees a few weeks into the beginning of the school year. The lowest level of satisfaction, in terms of weighted average, was for whether the transportation department effectively addressed complaints. The highest level of satisfaction was for completion of transportation routes with regard to the safety of children. Table 5-5 illustrates the total compilation of the surveys received. Table 5-6 follows the survey data table and categorizes some of the written responses to the question How can the transportation department provide services to the district in a more effective and efficient manner? on the Customer Satisfaction Survey of PCSD s transportation department. The responses listed are only a sample of the total received, but are representative of most of the issues communicated through the survey. Transportation 5-8

9 Table 5-5: Customer Satisfaction Survey Transportation Department Attributes Admin. & Teachers Transp. Other Weighted Average 1) Effective communication of transportation policies and routes exists ) Effective coordination of routes and special trips exists between departments ) The department provides timely transportation of students to and from schools ) The department provides timely transportation to and from special events ) Transportation routes cover the district in the most efficient manner possible ) The transportation department adjusts transportation schedules for student changes in a timely manner ) The transportation department is effective in addressing complaints ) Transportation routes are completed with regard to the safety of children ) Children arrive at school in a mindset conducive to learning. Yellow Bus Other ) The attitude, politeness and work ethic of the transportation department staff is above average ) Overall, the quality of all transportation services provided by the department is above average ) I am satisfied with the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the district s current transportation policies and procedures Overall Average Number of responses received Scale: 5 - Strongly agree, 4 - Agree, 3 - Neutral, 2 - Disagree, 1 - Strongly Disagree Transportation 5-9

10 The following table categorizes some of the written responses from the Customer Satisfaction Survey of the PCSD s transportation department. Table 5-6: Transportation User Survey - Selected Responses How can the transportation department provide services to the district in a more effective and efficient manner? Training *More qualified drivers. *All special education drivers should be required to help load/unload special education students. *All special education drivers must be made aware that they may have to wait longer for special education students. *Be more particular who drives your buses, for the children s sake, especially special needs students. *Train drivers on student conduct and discipline. *Courtesy and attitude of drivers. *Better communication. Scheduling *Bus route letters sent to parents in August should be sent earlier, if possible. *Buses should be more on time. *Students should be placed on the bus route closest to their home so that they do not ride too long. *It seems buses are late after they do a parochial run. *Some drivers take the long way on their runs. *Some pre-school students are on the bus too long. *It is important that bus drivers keep the same routes each year to maintain continuity for the children. *Opening day needs much work. Bus drivers should get off the bus and hold up a sign with the bus number. *Timely and accurate bus list. *Better scheduling and directions for away field trips. *Have shuttle schedules available in unit offices. Disciplinary *Security cameras should be on every bus. *Buses should not return to school with disciplinary problems. Use write-up report. *Adult Safety Observers should be hired to ride buses the first two weeks of school, before holidays and the last two weeks of school. Policy *Bus more children. *Reinstate high school busing. Other *Use seat belts on buses. *Communication is the key between the school and the transportation supervisor. *Field trips during the day should have a later return time. *Some buses should be available for longer field trips and not tied into the regular schedule. *Field trip billing is inconsistent. Performance Measures Transportation 5-10

11 The following is a list of performance measures that were used to conduct the analysis of the transportation department: Assessment of district s transportation policies in relationship to state minimum standards Adequacy of reporting operational information to secure state transportation aid Cost effectiveness of pupil transportation services by type of transportation (regular and special needs transportation): - Cost per mile, cost per bus and cost per student - Bus capacity utilization - Comparative bus driver wage rates and benefits - Effectiveness of coordination between the special education department and the transportation department to assure efficient transportation of special needs students Effectiveness and efficiency of transportation routing - Manual or computerized routing - Use of municipal transportation services - Assessment of district s bell schedules to support tiered routing Assessment of department staff and personnel matters - Review of the collective bargaining agreement - Analysis of absenteeism and leave usage Assessment of bus fleet and its maintenance - Review of the age of the bus fleet and required capital investment - Review of the district s practices regarding school bus replacement - Review of the adequacy of fleet maintenance system - Review of parts inventory control and reordering - Review of the preventive maintenance program Assessment of extracurricular transportation services - Appropriateness of budget and budget process for transporting students for extracurricular activities Assessment of privatization - High level analysis of opportunities for privatization Transportation 5-11

12 Findings/Commendations/Recommendations Policy F5.1 In November 1997, the PCSD s Board of Education adopted policies for providing transportation to resident students, kindergarten through grade eight, who live more than 1.5 miles from the school in their designated attendance area and for those with physical or mental disabilities that make walking impossible or unsafe. Exceptions to the established areas may be made by the board for the following reasons: transportation will be provided where walking conditions to the student s school are extremely hazardous and/or walking conditions are inadequate at the present time due to construction or temporary safety hazard transportation will be provided at noon for afternoon kindergarten children who are going to school and for morning kindergarten children who are returning home Transportation to alternate sites, such as baby-sitters or daycare centers, can be provided if the alternate site is within the attendance zone, in an eligible transportation zone for school attendance and consistent five days per week. Board policy also requires that the district operate its own fleet of school buses and provides for the transportation of students attending non-public schools in keeping with the requirements of state law and various determinations made by the state Board of Education. State law generally requires a school district to provide transportation for resident elementary students, grades K - 8, who live more than 2 miles from their assigned school or who have physical or mental disabilities that make walking impractical or unsafe. The transportation of high school students or intra district open enrollment is optional. Other key provisions of the transportation policy include: school bus safety program student conduct on school buses drug testing for drivers The district also has two additional transportation policies that cover the non-routine use of school buses and transportation by private vehicle. Transportation 5-12

13 F5.2 The following table shows how the transportation policy of PCSD compares with those of its peer districts. Table 5-7: Transportation Policies Transportation Policy Parma Canton Dayton South-Western K Intra district open enrollment 1.5 miles 1.5 miles 1.5 miles no no 1.0 mile 1.0 mile 1.0 mile 1.0 mile no 1.5 miles 1.5 miles 2.0 miles 2.0 miles yes Source: District s policies Note: PCSD sells RTA five-ride passes for the price of four-rides to high school students. 1 South-Western Public Schools limits the one mile distance to grades K-4 and applies the two mile limit to grades mile 2.0 miles 2.0 miles 2.0 miles no 1 F5.3 The district transports students living less than 1.5 miles from the school they attend when safety conditions warrant. In FY , the district transported 267 students under this exception. R5.1 PCSD should establish a formal procedure, with appropriate administrative approval, to determine if safety hazards are present and, therefore, allow the transportation of a student living less than one mile from their school. Current hazards include crossing a four-lane road, major streets without sidewalks, speed limits and railroad crossings. The district is busing approximately four percent of the total number of regular students transported due to safety hazards. R5.2 The transportation department should utilize the capabilities of their VersaTrans7 computerized routing software (F5.56) to run various scenarios to determine the impact of the current transportation policy on the district s transportation costs. A combination of scenarios should be run ranging from moving the district to state minimum standards or to somewhere in-between state minimum standards and the current policy. Financial Implication: One scenario that was reviewed during the performance audit was to determine how many students would be affected if the transportation policy for students were moved from 1.5 miles to two miles for transportation eligibility. Approximately 1,447 elementary and middle school students (7 th and 8 th grades) would lose their transportation eligibility. Based on the transportation department s current bus capacity utilization of 103 students per bus, approximately 14 buses could be reduced. The reduction of these buses represents an estimated cost savings of $485,000, net of state reimbursements, plus a cost avoidance of $700,000 in not having to replace these buses. However, any transportation reductions Transportation 5-13

14 should be examined thoroughly so that the district is not compromising the educational needs or the safety of the students. F5.4 The district utilizes various starting and ending times for their schools; however, the bell schedule for high schools is not a factor since the district does not provide district bus transportation for those students. The bell schedules for middle and elementary schools involves staggered starting and ending times and therefore allows some of the district buses to run up to four runs per route. Table 5-8: Bell Schedules Start Time Dismissal Time High Schools 7:45 A.M. 2:45 P.M. Middle Schools 8:00 A.M. 2:50 P.M. Elementary Schools 9:15 A.M. 3:15 P.M. Source: PCSD s transportation department PCSD does not transport high school students on district buses. High school students who want to purchase RTA bus passes may do so from their high school. The district subsidizes the student 20 percent. In FY , the students purchased a five-ride $5.00 pass for $4.00. F5.5 The table below illustrates how the districts compare with their bell schedules that affect transportation routing. Table 5-9: Peer District Bell Schedule Comparison Parma Canton Dayton South-Western Number of Tiers 2 tiers 3 tiers 2 tiers 3 tiers Source: Transportation departments Transportation 5-14

15 F5.6 PCSD s transportation department uses a combination of one, two, three and four runs per route with the majority of routes having three runs. Table 5-10: Analysis of Bus Routes FY AM Routes Percent of Total PM Routes Percent of Total One run 1 1% 1 1% Two runs 25 37% 21 31% Three runs 41 61% 46 68% Four runs 1 1% 0 0% Total % % Source: PCSD transportation department F5.7 Table 5-11 shows the number of runs per route by peer district. The PCSD transportation department had the highest percentage of three runs per route, as compared to the other district that had a two-tiered bell schedule. This is accomplished by having a run of the nonpublic school elementary students, which, in effect gives PCSD a three-tier bell schedule. PCSD transports middle schools, non-public elementary schools and public elementary schools in the morning and non-public elementary schools, middle schools and public elementary schools in the afternoon. Table 5-11: Peer Analysis of Bus Routing Tiers Parma Canton Dayton South-Western FY Percent of Total Percent of Total Percent of Total Percent of Total One run 1% 5% 1% 4% Two runs 34% 29% 80% 15% Three runs 64% 40% 17% 47% Four runs 1% 22% 2% 32% Five runs 0% 4% 0% 2% Total 100% 100% 100% 100% Source: Transportation departments C5.1 The district s transportation department has the majority of its routes with three runs. The three runs per route helps minimize the number of buses needed to transport students and indicates an effective use of bus routing software by the transportation department. (F5.56) Transportation 5-15

16 State Funding F5.8 School districts must file annual forms with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) regarding their transportation services. These forms are used by ODE to determine the reimbursement the district will receive related to their regular and special needs transportation programs. Descriptions of essential state reports and the corresponding effect they have on the transportation at the district are as follows: T-I Form The T-1 Form summarizes regular transportation service in terms of pupil usage and mileage for both public and non-public students. This information is then used by ODE to determine the regular transportation reimbursement allocation. The state reimburses at the greater of an amount per student transported over one mile or an amount per mile according to the method used to transport that student. These rates are shown in Table 5-12 for FY s and by type of transportation provided. Table 5-12: State of Ohio Transportation Reimbursement Schedule Class Type of Transportation Provided Dollars per Pupil Cents per Mile Type I Board owned buses Type II Contractor owned buses Type III Public Transportation Type IV Payment to parent, in lieu of transportation Type V Board owned vehicles other than school buses Type VI Privately owned vehicles other than school buses Source: Ohio Department of Education The state funding for transportation is passed through to the district in the state foundation payments twice a month. The state will base the amount of the current year funding on the prior year s information until the T-1 Form is completed in October. The amount of funding is then adjusted in January. For FY , the district s funding was generated by dollars per pupil for Type I transportation on board-owned buses, Type III transportation on public transportation (RTA) and Type IV payments to parents in lieu of transportation. For Type V transportation on board-owned other vehicles, the district s funding was based on cents per mile. The district received $657,278 for transportation of regular education students. This state funding represents approximately 31 percent of the district s transportation costs related to regular education students. T-2 Form Transportation 5-16

17 The T-2 Form summarizes the costs associated with the regular bus service. Since the T-2 Form reports annual costs, it is not prepared and filed until after the school year has ended, usually at the beginning of the next school year. Although not directly used for reimbursement purposes, the information is important for developing comparative statistics and trends on both a statewide and local level. In addition, ODE uses the information to ensure the districts have not been reimbursed more than their actual expenditures for regular transportation. T-11 Form The T-11 Form summarizes both pupil usage and costs associated with special needs busing. The information is used in computing the special needs reimbursement. The state s reimbursement formula for special needs transportation is specified in the Ohio Department of Education Rule (E)(1) as follows: For eligible children with disabilities, the Department s Division of School Finance will approve reimbursement for the actual cost of special transportation up to six dollars per instructional day per child and one-half of the actual cost in excess of six dollars per day. Based on the Department of Education s formula, PCSD should have been reimbursed approximately $844,664 in FY for FY special needs transportation. Although the busing of special needs students is a mandated requirement, the funding formula would only provide reimbursement for approximately 69 percent of the district s special needs expenditures. In addition, the amount the district actually receives is limited to the amount approved within the state s budgetary appropriation. For FY , the district received only $386,190 or 46 percent of the amount determined by the funding formula and approximately 31 percent of the actual expenditures associated with special needs busing for that year. Due to uncertainty in the amount of funding the district actually receives from the state, reliable budget projections in the area of special needs transportation funding are difficult. House Bill 770 adjusts the new transportation formula adopted in House Bill 650 which changed transportation funding to include a logarithm which determines the most efficient transportation use cost per transported student for each district. For FY , districts are guaranteed the same amount they received for transportation in FY Primarily, House Bill 770 would permit ODE to recalculate each district s most efficient transportation use cost per transported student annually instead of biennially, and would permit ODE to use the most recent data available in updating the most efficient transportation use cost per student. In addition, ODE is required to apply a 2.8 percent annual inflation rate to the transportation aid calculated for the district when the calculation is based on data that is not current. F5.9 The T-2 and the T-11 Forms prepared for FY were inaccurate. The salary expenditures were incorrectly reported. The reconciliation of the T-2 and T-11 Forms to Transportation 5-17

18 the 4502 report indicated that the T-Forms were overstated primarily due to the fact that all salaries were included in the T-2 Form and did not have the special needs salaries deducted. The special needs salaries included in the T-11 Form were incomplete. In addition, other special needs expenses were not included in the T-11 Form. Corrected forms were resubmitted to the state. The errors on the T-2 Form would not have affected PCSD s reimbursement from the state because the reimbursement for regular busing is based primarily on information on the T-1 Form rather than on actual costs. However, the errors would have affected the quality of resulting statistics and hamper meaningful comparisons with other districts and state benchmarks. The errors on the T-11 Form would have affected the districts reimbursement for special needs transportation. R5.3 The transportation supervisor and the business manager should prepare a worksheet for the preparation of the state forms and reconcile the forms to the 4502 before the forms are submitted to the state. In addition, the worksheet would also provide an audit trail. Financial Implication: The timeliness of this audit allowed the state T-Forms to be revised. The errors in the T-11 Form would have caused the district to be under-reimbursed approximately $91,700 based on the percentage received from the state for FY F5.10 The PCSD s transportation policy does not provide for the transportation of high school students. However, high school students, both public and non-public, can purchase discounted RTA five-ride passes. The district purchases five-ride passes for $5.00 and sells them to public high school students for $4.00. Non- public high school students purchase their tickets for $4.00 at their high school. RTA invoices the PCSD $1.00 to cover the district s subsidy on passes sold to non-public high school students. The district s expenditure for its RTA transportation cost of high school students can be reimbursed by up to $87.00 per pupil from the ODE. R5.4 In FY , the state reimbursed up to $87.00 per student for public transportation. If a student rode the RTA for the entire school year of 180 days, under the current subsidy of 20 percent, the district would receive only $72.00 per student. The district should take full advantage of the state reimbursement by lowering the cost of the five-ride pass to the student so it can maximize its state reimbursement. Financial Implication: The district, by subsidizing high school student bus passes at 20 percent, receives only $72.00 out of a possible state reimbursement of $ The district should increase its subsidy to the students to 24 percent, or $86.40 for a student who used public transportation everyday for a 180 day school year. This change in subsidy would result in the student saving an additional $14.40 per year, with no additional cost to the district. Transportation 5-18

19 180 school days x two rides a day Five ride ticket = $5.00 $4.00 Five ride ticket = $5.00 $3.80 Net increase/ (decrease) Cost to Student $ $ ($14.40) Gross Cost to District $72.00 $86.40 $14.40 State Reimbursement $72.00 $86.40 $14.40 Net Cost to District $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 F5.11 The state funds yellow bus purchases under the following two methods: The first funding method deals with regular buses. The state is currently allocating funding to the districts based on a complex formula that utilizes the following district data: number of students or miles, a rough road factor, a wealth factor, and equity in funding. These funds are sent to the districts and are to be earmarked by the districts for bus purchases (bus purchase allowance) or to pay for contracted services. The second funding method deals with buses identified as non-public or handicapped and are currently reimbursed up to $50,000 per bus assuming they have met the state s mileage requirement for that year. The state is currently establishing a mileage cutoff based on all non-public and handicapped buses throughout the state and reimbursing the districts which have the buses with the highest mileage. This reimbursement is limited to the dollar level appropriated within the state s budget. PCSD s bus purchase allowance in FY for regular buses was $76,988. The district does not receive many reimbursements for buses identified as non-public or handicapped. In an urban setting, the buses cannot put on the mileage necessary to qualify under the state s current guidelines. In addition, the state is currently allocating and sending funds to the district based on a complex formula that utilizes the following district data: the number of students or miles, a rough road factor, a wealth factor and equity in funding. According to the ODE, the last non-public or handicap bus reimbursement was in FY 1993 in the amount of $345,487 for nine buses. Transportation 5-19

20 General Operations F5.12 The following table illustrates the increase in actual and budgeted transportation costs. Table 5-13: Actual and Budgeted Expenditures FY Actual FY Actual Dollar Increase Percent Increase FY Budgeted Dollar Increase Percent Increase Total Cost $3,662,946 $3,654,713 ($8,233) (0.2%) $3,190,100 ($464,613) (12.7%) Source: FYs and Reports and the amended temporary appropriation, November 16, The business manager stated that the differences in the actual expenditures in FY , as compared to FY , was caused in part by the following conditions: A reduction in workers compensation Less overtime Less severance pay Lower fuel expenses due to the mild winter As explained in the background section, the district has not adopted a permanent appropriation measure. The treasurer, in order to adopt a budget within the certificate of estimated resources, modified various budget request from administrators and appropriated accounts at lesser amounts than were requested. The decrease in FY budget amount does not seem reasonable since the transportation department has not reduced its service and has a two-year history of expenditures averaging over $400,000 more than the budget. F5.13 The Auditor of State analyzed Ohio s 50 largest school districts, as determined by Average Daily Membership (ADM), and prepared comparative ratios utilizing the districts GAAP basis financial statements. The analysis, presented in Table 5-14, revealed that PCSD pupil transportation expenditures, as a percentage of the total operating expenditures of the general fund and as a percentage of the total operating expenditures of all governmental funds, are above the average of the 50 largest school districts being compared. Transportation 5-20

21 Table 5-14: Ratio Analysis - Ohio s 50 Largest School Districts Pupil Transportation Parma Canton Dayton South- Western Average of 50 Largest As a percentage of the Total Operating Expenditures of the General Fund 5.21% % 4.40% 4.63% As a percentage of the Total Operating Expenditures of the Governmental Funds 4.80% % Source: Ratio Analysis School District, State of Ohio 1 Canton City School District financial reports were not available for this study. 3.48% 3.95% F5.14 Approximately 6,907 regular education public and non-public students are eligible for transportation within the PCSD boundaries. Non-public students are students who live within PCSD boundaries but attend private or parochial schools. The overall cost to transport a PCSD regular education student, for all methods of transportation, is $308 based on FY actual expenditures. As with most school districts, the cost for PCSD to transport special needs students is dramatically higher than the cost to serve regular education students. An estimated 382 special needs students were eligible for transportation. The cost per special needs student during FY was $3,564 or $3,256 more than the cost to serve regular education students. The following factors help lead to the higher cost for special needs student transportation: The number of special needs students requiring transportation and the location of the special education classes to which students are assigned. The use of aides on the special needs routes. Aides are assigned to these routes to help the driver load/unload students, to maintain order on the buses and to attend to the special needs of the students. The billing rate for bus attendants averages $11.58 per hour, with a four hour minimum. Special needs students may require door-to-door service not available to regular education students. The time required in loading/unloading special needs students is higher than regular students. Both of these factors directly impact the length of time for the route. Special equipment is needed to transport special needs students. Some buses purchased for special needs programs require special features (lifts, restraints, etc.) which makes these buses more expensive to purchase and maintain. Transportation 5-21

22 The number of special needs students per bus is usually lower than the regular transportation routes. This is due mainly to the location of the students, the displacement of regular seats, the need for special equipment, the riding time considerations and the individual attention needed by students on these routes. The following table details the number of students and cost per student for regular and special needs students. Table 5-15: Transportation Cost Eligible Students FY Costs Cost per Student Regular Education 6,907 $2,128,971 $308 Special Needs 382 $1,361,562 $3,564 Total 7,289 $3,490,533 Source: FY T-1, T-2 and T-11 Forms Transportation 5-22

23 F5.15 Performance of transportation services can be measured by various means. The following table presents selected operating ratios for PCSD and other peer districts for regular education students. Table 5-16: Regular Education Operational Ratio Peer Comparison Regular Education FY Parma Canton Dayton South- Western Peer Average District Buses: Operational Data: Active Buses Average Driver Wage Operational Ratios: Cost per Mile Cost per Bus Cost per Student Students per Bus Number of Students 58 $13.00 $3.61 $34,758 $ , $11.05 $3.49 $24,429 $ , $10.88 $3.70 $54,059 $ , $13.58 $2.13 $32,464 $ , $11.84 $3.11 $36,984 $ ,053 Contracted Yellow Buses: Cost per Student Number of Students Public Transportation: Cost per Student Number of Students $ $ $229 5,684 $105 4 $177 1,906 Payment In Lieu of Transportation: Cost per Student Number of Students $ $ $ $ $ Board owned other than school bus: Cost per Student Number of Students $ All Modes of Transportation: Cost per student Number of Students $308 6,907 $206 5,520 $513 21,263 $248 13,161 $322 13,315 Source: PCSD s FY T-1 and T-2 Forms Note: PCSD data is not included in the peer average. 1 PCSD high school students purchase a five-ride $5.00 pass for $4.00. This figure represents the 20 percent district subsidy. Not all of the 279 students rode the bus for the entire school year. PCSD s transportation department s regular education operational ratios do not compare favorably with those of its peer districts. The district had a cost per student on district buses of $338, as compared to Canton City School District and South-Western Public Schools whose costs were $206 and $249 respectively. Additionally, PCSD s cost per bus of $34,758 was higher than Canton City School District s $24,429 and South-Western Public Transportation 5-23

24 School s $32,464. Some of the contributing factors that explain PCSD s higher operating costs include: paying drivers for time not worked (R5.9), too liberal sick leave policy (R5.11), lack of a formal preventive maintenance program (R5.14), too large maintenance staff (R5.15) and a lack of parts inventory management and purchasing practices (R5.17). F5.16 In FY , the transportation department paid parents, for payment in lieu of transportation, the state s FY reimbursement amount and not the FY amount. The district makes payments twice a year, in February and July. Since ODE did not notify the districts until late May of the new amount, the PCSD district did not change its July payment. Since payments are 100 percent reimbursed by the state, parents in the PCSD could have received an additional $21.00 per student. C5.2 Table 5-16 shows that the district is utilizing the capacity of the buses in its fleet. PCSD operates one bus for every 103 students receiving transportation services. Bus utilization capacity is defined at 85 percent of the manufacturer s seating capacity for the bus. The district has an estimated bus utilization capacity of 90 percent. This high rate of bus utilization capacity is a result of the district s reliance on its computerized routing software which is further explained in F5.56. Transportation 5-24

25 F5.17 The table below illustrates the special needs transportation operational ratios of the peer districts. The emphasis of the comparison is the cost of transportation per student by the various methods used to transport special needs students. Table 5-17: Special Needs Operational Ratios Peer Comparison Special Needs Education FY Parma Canton Dayton South- Western Peer Average District Buses: Operational Data: Average Driver Wage Average Bus Aide Wage Operational Ratios: Cost per Mile Cost per Student Number of Students $13.00 $8.00 $5.64 $4, $11.05 $7.20 $3.27 $1, $13.24 $10.09 $3.45 $2, $15.10 $11.16 $1.68 $3, $13.13 $9.48 $2.80 $2, District owned other vehicles: Cost per Student Number of Students $3, $1, $3,177 6 $2,366 8 Contracted Yellow Buses: Cost per Student Number of Students $4,690 6 $2, $3, Contracted Other Vehicles: Cost per Student Number of Students $2, $2, $2, Parent/Guardian Contract: Cost per Student Number of Students $151 1 $2,092 1 $ Public Transportation: Cost per Students Number of Students $ $ Taxi: Cost per Student Number of Students $ $ $ $ All Modes of Transportation: Cost per Student Number of Students $3, $1, Source: PCSD s T-11 Form and transportation department records Note: PCSD s data is not included in the peer average. $2,141 1,045 $3, $2, PCSD s transportation department had the highest cost per student for district operated Transportation 5-25

26 special needs buses. In addition, PCSD cost per student for all modes of transportation for special needs students was higher than the peer district average and was the highest of the four districts being compared. Also, the district special needs transportation costs on contracted other vehicles is higher than the other districts using this service, and higher than the peer average of the four school districts reviewed in the last performance audit. The transportation supervisor stated that vendors used for contracted transportation and taxis have not been changed in years. The district does not use parental contracts too often since most of PCSD schools are neighborhood schools, and those parents that transport their child have not asked for reimbursement. Parental contracts are paid to parents in an amount to which both parties agree. In one case where a parent has requested reimbursement, the district paid the parent the same amount that the state reimburses parents for payment in lieu of transportation. R5.5 The district should competitively bid or solicit price quotations for special needs transportation services. Price quotations should be documented and submitted along with the purchase requisition before the purchase order is processed. Annual solicitation of price quotations, or bids, will help ensure that the district is receiving the best possible price and that vendor selection is made objectively. F5.18 PCSD identifies special education students as required by federal and state laws and follows the steps outlined in Whose IDEA is This?: A Resource Guide for Parents published by the Ohio Department of Education. Once it is determined that a child has a disability, an individualized education program (IEP) must be written for the child. The IEP includes a statement of specific special education and related services, including transportation. The IEP will indicate if specialized busing service is required and the type of service needed. Not all special education students require specialized transportation. Those students who can be accommodated through the regular transportation program are classified as regular riders. Only those special education students requiring special transportation services are classified as special needs riders. Therefore, the number of special education students found elsewhere in this report may exceed the number of special needs students used in the transportation section. Ohio Administrative Code Section, (C)(2) states the following: School district transportation personnel shall be consulted in the preparation of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) when transportation is required as a related service and when children s needs are such that information to ensure the safe transportation and well-being of the child is necessary to improve such transportation. There is little involvement by the transportation department in the development of the IEP when a determination is made that the student requires special transportation services. Transportation 5-26

27 F5.19 The student services department determines the special needs students attendance times at school. The starting and ending times for special needs students vary by individual students. The director of student services stated that the district utilizes many starting and ending times for its special needs students because some students cannot cope with being in school too long or they cannot handle the confusion with the mass of students at the regular starting and ending times. R5.6 The non-standard arrival and dismissal times for special needs students causes multiple runs which increases transportation cost. If transportation personnel were involved in the IEP process for all students who require special transportation services, and used their experience with transporting students, transportation services and costs could be better controlled. PCSD identifies1,929 students as special needs for educational purposes, but it recognizes only 382 of these students, or 20 percent, as special needs for the purpose of transportation. PCSD s cost of transporting a student on a regular yellow bus is $388 as compared with the cost of transporting a student on a special needs yellow bus which is $4,077 and $3,787 for transportation with the district s station wagons. Since the cost of regular student transportation is much less than the cost of special needs transportation, the district would benefit by ensuring all students riding on special needs buses actually need the additional service. Financial Implication: If the district would re-evaluate the IEPs and were able to change the special needs transportation requests to regular needs transportation by only 10 to 20 percent of the 212 special needs students on district buses and reduce one to two special needs buses and attendants, the savings would be approximately $61,000 to $122,000, net of state reimbursements. In addition, there would be a cost avoidance of $50,000 to $100,000 in not having to replace these buses. Transportation 5-27

28 F5.20 The table below presents statistics relating to non-public riders in the peer districts. Table 5-18: Non-public Student Transportation Peer Comparison FY Parma Canton Dayton South-Western Non-public Students Eligible to Ride 2, , Non-public Students on District Buses 1, , % On District Buses 73% 93% 43% 74% Cost per Student $338 $206 $642 $249 Non-public Students on Contracted Buses % On Contracted Bus Cost per Student Paid In Lieu of Being Transported % Paid In Lieu of Being Transported 23% 7% 32% 26% Cost per Student $151 $172 $172 $172 Non-public Students on Public Transportation % On Public Transportation 4% 25% <1% Cost per Student $17 $229 $105 Average Cost Per Student $308 $206 $513 $228 Source: Transportation departments T-1 and T-2 Forms Note: PCSD pays RTA 20 cents for each ride pass the parochial school purchases from RTA for the transportation of parochial high school students. Transportation 5-28

29 F5.21 PCSD utilizes parents to transport students to non-public schools in lieu of transportation on district buses. Parents were paid $151 per child during school year to transport their children. The state advances school districts for 100 percent of this annually determined amount based on data reported on the T-1 Form. The following table details statistics relating to non-public students and cost per student by transportation method. Table 5-19: Cost of Transportation for Non-public Students Non-public Students Eligible Students Total Cost Cost per Student Bused by PCSD 1,820 $615,160 $338 Bused by RTA 115 $1,955 $17 Paid In Lieu of Being Transported 571 $85,650 $150 Total 2,506 $702,765 Source: FY T-1 and T-2 Forms Note: PCSD pays RTA 20 cents for each ride pass that a parochial school purchases from RTA for the transportation of parochial high school students. Not all of the115 students rode the bus for the entire school year. R5.7 PCSD should develop a program that would promote the transportation of non-public students through payment in lieu of transportation. The cost associated with payments in lieu of transportation for FY 1998 was $151 whereas, the cost for district bus transportation was $338, or a difference of $187 per student. Financial Implication: If the district could increase the number of payments in lieu of transportation by another 5 to10 percent of the eligible non-public students on district buses, the district could reduce one to two buses and save approximately a net of $20,000 to $40,000 plus a cost avoidance $50,000 to $100,000 in not having to replace one to two buses. Transportation 5-29

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