Efforts at maximum efficient, including combined school bus routes, has earned the Sampson County Schools transportation department a 100 percent proficiency rating which could equate to more dollars for the system.
Clinton City Schools, which is managed by the county department, also received a 100 percent rating.
Transportation director Herb Sanderson and Anthony Vann, director of auxiliary services for Sampson County Schools, gave the news to school board members during a work session earlier in the week.
“We’re always about 95 percent, but this year we were at 100 percent, something I was very pleased with,” Sanderson pointed out. “what that means is we will get the maximum dollars in terms of state funding for our department.”
A negative rating would have meant decreased dollars.
Sanderson tipped his hat to Transportation Information Management System (TIMS) staff, bus drivers and school administrators for the work they did to help secure the perfect rating.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about them and the hard work they’ve done to improve our rating from what has always been good to something even better.”
It hasn’t always been that way, Sanderson pointed out, noting that a few years back the school system lost in the neighborhood of $64,000 because of a less than stellar rating.
“At that point, we put our heads together and started looking at ways we could be gain efficiency. They weren’t all popular but they have helped us be more frugal.”
The efficiency gains came about with tweaks to the system, including combing routes and reducing stops.
“Sometimes that meant sacrificing a little comfort and convenience, but the end result was a positive one for the system,” Sanderson stressed, noting that the sacrifices did not mean undue hardship on students either.
A recent study, Vann pointed out, showed that county school bus drivers make 3,200 stops every morning and evening, a significant number.
“We do everything we can to be efficient and safe. I think our drivers do a great job.”
Before Sanderson took the floor, Vann gave board members an overview of TIMS, noting its significance in the transportation system.
“Back in the 1980s, the Department of Public Instruction started working on a computer-based system to help with bus routes. In 1992, with help from the Legislature, all school systems went to TIMS, which assists with that routing. It has, without question, helped with efficiency in that it calculate stops, inputs all bus routes.”
A major part of TIMS is the rating system which, in turn, is tied to the funding formula for system transportation departments.
“We are pleased that our rating was so good it will mean maximum dollars,” Vann asserted.
Board members listened intently to the presentation but made little comment, other than to praise Sanderson and his department for a job well done.
“That’s really good news,” stressed board chairman Telfair Simpson.
Colleague Glenn Tart agreed, noting, “We really appreciate what you and they do, we really do.”