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RVS transportation respond to issues with new web based systems

The May 9 RVS Board of Trustees meeting revealed new ways that RVS transportation will be operating next year.
A Foothills School Division bus drives down HWY-552 in the morning on Oct. 13.

Rocky View Schools has a shortage of buses and drivers.

To make up for this lack, and the resulting longer student riding times, the Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees meeting of May 9 revealed new ways that RVS transportation will be operating for the 2024-2025 school year.

The RVS transportation accountability report presented that 12,894 students are currently using school buses with just under 50 children per bus, but RVS senior transportation manager Morley Kostecky addressed two key problems facing the public school district at the May 9 meeting.

First, Kostecky said that the current shortage of bus resources is an issue being influenced by student population growth, increasing transportation costs, lack of drivers, and the CSA D250 school bus standard.

Kostecky added that the ministry identified 11 specialty buses that did not meet the requirements of the D250 bus standard for home to school transportation.

RVS transportation could not strike a deal with it current bus contractor due to conflicting contractual commitments, and Kostecky said RVS will terminate the contract at the end of the school year.

Kostecky said the gap will be filled before the fall. 

Second, Kostecky explained how RVS is looking for greater access to charters and field trips, but the current staff of drivers is stretched thin across multiple schools and routines.

In response to the listed issues, Kostecky said the district would add charter service provider capacity, and review charter requirements.

Early busing registration has also been expedited, and began fully on May 9. 

“This will allow us to overview the requirements of a field trip and ensure that the needs and desires of the schools can be met with proper accommodations from the contractor,” said Kostecky. 

Kostecky said RVS transportation will also provide additional support to schools, and thus a web-based BusPlanner system was implemented. He related BusPlanner to a flight tracking app where users can digitally follow a bus in real time, and allow students and families to plan better for when they should go outside to meet the bus.

Additionally, BusPlanner has route management systems that RVS transportation staff are extensively trained in.  A ‘school view’ feature will be available for RVS so that administration can track expected buses and queues as well according to Kostecky. 

Trustees were also informed that student behavioural management on buses will be shifting to use the Positive Behaviour Interventions Support Program (PBIS), which encourages positive reinforcement rather than consequences. 

Contractors will be trained in accordance with PBIS guidelines, according to Kostecky. A draft ‘bus communication form’ has been developed for RVS buses, and it will replace any previous student management system. 

Ticket-based inquiries are also being established to reduce the volume of emails during peak season. Tickets will categorize inquiries and prioritize most urgent needs, said Kostecky, and inquiries will also be directed to proper staff equipped with the tools to meet the needs of RVS families.



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