PBC School District makes improvements to transportation to avoid same problems from last year

Posted at 8:06 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 20:06:41-04

Palm Beach County Schools open their doors in less than two weeks.

The Superintendent predicts a smoother ride for all students who take the bus.

“One of the benefits of hiring significantly more drivers than routes is that we’ve got a back up plan,” said Palm Beach County Superintendent Robert Avossa.

Avossa announced Monday the district made significant changes to its transportation system, including hiring more drivers.

However, that wasn’t the only transportation issue the District has had to address over the last few years.

Just a few years ago, the big problems had to do with bus breakdowns and maintenance issues.

On the first day of the 2014-2015 school year, 15 buses broke down.

In fact,  we uncovered this fact: in the first few months of that school year nearly 1 in 4 buses had to be towed at least once.

At the start of last school year we saw new problems.

On the first day of school nearly 40 percent of the buses failed to get students to school on time.

Part of the problem, more than 50 bus drivers didn’t show up on the first day of school.

The other part of the problem was that the district rolled out a new routing system that wasn’t ready.

And the GPS tracking system that the district spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to install did not work for parents who tried to track their kids.

Parents created such an uproar that the district had to hire an outside firm to investigate.

The head of school transportation resigned in the wake of the report and other high level officials were reprimanded.

However, two weeks before the start of school this year, the district is promising to do a better job.

It has added 60 new busses.

The district says it is fully staffed with drivers. The drivers are also getting paid more.

The district is also going back to a routing system it trusts, this does mean parents will not be able to use GPS tracking on their kids bus.

“We’ve actually gone back to an old routing that everyone was familiar with and comfortable with,” said the districts new COO Dr. Donald Fennoy.

As for the cameras on board?  Last year, NewsChannel 5 revealed that several of them did not work.

As of Monday, the district says there about 20 cameras and GPS tracking systems that still need repairs, adding that parents will have access to the video if it involves their child.

Whether this all makes a difference, we will find out in two weeks.