The State Auditor General’s Office recently released a report confirming a number of issues within the Palm Beach County Schools’ Transportation Department.
Wednesday, NewsChannel 5 sat down with Donald Fennoy.He’s the district’s new chief operating officer.
One of his many jobs is to fix the issues within the district’s transportation system, outlined in that state audit, sparked in part by a NewsChannel 5 investigation.
“It’s our responsibility to react to that and put some measures in place so that none of those things occur again,” said Fennoy.
According to the state auditor, the district overpaid for a new routing system that it ended up ditching. The report says the district didn’t properly inspect all of its buses.
Additionally, the district failed to properly train its drivers, some of whom didn’t even have the properly commercial drivers license.
“We hired a general manager who’s specific function is training and monitoring to make sure our drivers had the appropriate certification,” said Fennoy.
Fennoy says the district has already begun to fix the problems, especially since this is the third audit of the transportation department. Those audits have been in response to the bus problems that plagued the start 2015-2016 school year.
Most of the issues were result of that new routing system and a shortage of bus drivers.
“We were very fortunate to start this year with a surplus of drivers,” Fennoy pointed out since the district agreed to a salary increase to help hire and retain quality drivers.
However, one year later and families are still experiencing issues.
NewsChannel 5 posted a survey online. The question: Is the Palm Beach County School District doing a better job with its buses (getting kids to and from school) this year?
We found many still don’t trust the bus system.
“There’s a lot left to be done.” Fennoy says the district is looking to replacing an aging bus fleet and plans to focus on document and record keeping requirements.
“We’ll be very transparent as we work on creating the strategic plan for process improvements which is driven my the multiple audits they should continue to see improvements in those multiple areas.”
The district has a 30 day period to respond to the State Auditor General’s Office with a explanation to the findings. It will also have to provide a plan to fix the issues.