FHSD Transportation Audit

Posted on 08/16/2018
FHSD Transportation Audit Image

School bus transportation for students in the Francis Howell School District has been provided by First Student since 1985. While this partnership has served the transportation needs of FHSD well for more than 30 years, the District recently commissioned an analysis to proactively examine the efficiency of the operation and to verify current service levels to determine if there are any opportunities for improvement.

To conduct the analysis, FHSD contracted with School Bus Consultants (SBC), the largest and most experienced consultancy dedicated exclusively to the design, management, and operations of school transportation programs. SBC utilizes a combination of quantitative and qualitative processes to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of transportation operations to identify how changes would impact the financial and operational resources that must be allocated to school transportation programs.

As part of this process, SBC gathered data, analyzed Board policies and regulations, looked at cost and key performance indicators, reviewed route planning and efficiency, and provided findings and recommendations. The findings indicate the scope of FHSD transportation services:

  • 159 active bus routes
  • 810 daily runs
  • 5.09 daily runs per bus
  • Average run time of 30 minutes
  • 15,639 planned riders
  • Average Planned Capacity Utilization of 74%
  • 13,248 miles driven daily
  • FY 16/17 Total home to school costs $9,572,002
  • Annual cost per bus $60,201
  • Daily cost per bus $356
  • Annual cost per student $612
  • Daily cost per student $3.62
  • Cost per mile $4.28

The overall conclusion of SBC is that “transportation services for the Francis Howell School District are being provided in a manner that is both cost effective and service efficient.” The report went on to state that “it appears that the routing network is well-designed to promote both a high level of service that is expected and to achieve a high rate of capacity and seating utilization.”

SBC recommended “A periodic review of policy statements and current practices to ensure that service levels remain consistent with expectations.” Transportation is the District’s second largest expenditure after employee salaries and benefits, and SBC also recommended that “In the event that a cost reduction becomes a necessity, the primary influence on the overall cost of service is the full eligibility for all students and would be the first element to consider to achieve cost reductions.” The full report can be found on FHSD Board Docs.

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