Rita Ann Ezzai Reznick is the director of public relations to the Florence Unified School District.
Did you know that the Florence Unified School District Transportation department travels more than 3,500 miles each day driving students safely to and from school, special programs and activities? Our FUSD bus drivers are often the first face students see at the start of their school day and quite possibly the last person they see at the end.
The FUSD student transportation fleet consists of 102 student transportation vehicles of which 86 are yellow school buses. These vehicles are inspected before each ride by our certified school bus drivers for safety on our daily routes.
The AZ Department of Public Safety requires this daily pre-trip inspection in order for each driver to assess the components of the bus that ensure our riders’ safe transport. These checks include, but are not limited to, air systems that control the brakes, service door and stop arm extension; all light functions, under-th- hood components, all fluids, tires, glass, roof hatches, emergency exits, safety systems, belts and electrical connections.
Our team of student transportation specialists takes this inspection and the care of our fleet very seriously. FUSD just completed its annual school bus safety inspections from the Arizona Department of Public Safety School Bus Division during the week of May 2. We were thrilled with the feedback and results of the thorough overview of our fleet and its condition considering that neighboring school districts did not receive such stellar reviews and had to remove several of their vehicles and buses from service.
Findings are measured by minor – correctable and bus remains in service and receives an annual renewal sticker or major – correctible but bus is taken out of service and an additional inspection is required before an annual renewal sticker can be issued following the recommended repairs.
Of the findings for correction in our fleet, none were identified as major and the minor findings, which were few, were resolved while the inspector from the Arizona Department of Public Safety was still on site. Each bus undergoes up to 30 checks before being stickered for student safety – for us that is 2,580 items between two locations. All of this during the regular transport of more than 5,000 students daily.
Shannon Weber, the director of Transportation for FUSD is well known and respected in her field. She consistently motivates the transportation team and was able to recruit bus drivers post pandemic, which was not an easy task considering we were competing with other districts across the state of Arizona to recruit and hire.
Our transportation department is responsible for driving our district forward and like a true leader, Weber is always ready to sing the drivers’ praises.
“I am so proud of the efforts of the transportation team. We have worked together Focus Forward this year on remaining engaged, aware and committed to this work,” she said. “Student safety is paramount and with the use of our bus ID scanning for our riders with badges or the Here Comes the Bus App we can reassure parents, school leaders and drivers of student location, any route changes, and on-and-off bus confirmation. Another exciting safety feature for our students and community.”
In addition to the DPS celebration, the FUSD Transportation Team has just completed 370,000 accident-free student transportation miles to date this year. This too is an excellent accomplishment that can’t be done without commitment, a “safety before schedule mindset and daily awareness on roadways.
FUSD is always looking to hire dedicated bus drivers and mechanics. Come see how you can make a positive difference while helping to drive FUSD forward as it strives to be a “district by design and not by chance.” Visit www.fusdaz.com and apply.
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