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No safety concerns with D-300 bus system, audit finds

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 4:19 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 10:47 p.m. CDT

CARPENTERSVILLE – District 300 does an “excellent job” of maintaining its bus fleet, often exceeding statewide safety regulations, an independent auditor determined in a newly released report.

The 19-page audit refutes numerous safety and maintenance concerns that a former school bus driver and district parents voiced earlier in the fall.

Auditors from the Chicago-based TransitPro Logistics still suggested several improvements to the district’s bus system, including stronger district oversight over its third-party bus provider Durham School Services.

“There is a little bit of a heavy presence by Durham right now,” TransitPro President Todd Zoellick told board members Monday. “With some of the recommendations we’ve put in place, I think that can be balanced, and I think you can continue a strong relationship with Durham personnel.”

The Warrenville-based Durham company has managed the district’s bus system since 2007. The company dispatches about 230 buses from buildings in Algonquin, Carpentersville and Hampshire to transport 16,000 students to schools throughout District 300.

The Carpentersville-based school district contracted TransitPro Logistics for $38,945 to perform the review that spanned more than two months and examined various areas, from student bus safety to maintenance processing.

Regarding oversight, TransitPro found the district’s transportation director is the only person with authority to work with Durham and suggested the district hire a supervisor to help.

The smaller bus compound at Hampshire also operates without an on-site manager, and the district should at least consider part-time help during the mornings and afternoons, TransitPro suggested, when drivers start and finish their routes.

Durham also stores and handles all incident reports and other bus-related documents in a process that requires district administrators to request specific information, TransitPro found.

The paper storage process should be digitally converted to allow for easier access and information sharing between Durham and the district, TransitPro recommended.

The outside company concluded the district’s bus system operates with “far more pros than cons,” properly maintains its fleet and does preventative maintenance that exceeds statewide standards, according to the report.

District administrators have already changed certain procedures – like the digital storage – highlighted in the report, said Superintendent Michael Bregy. Going forward, officials will prioritize the recommended changes.

“Like any audit, we will start looking at the recommendations, putting them in priority order and updating the board on where we are with the recommendations,” Bregy said.

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