Contrary to popular belief, school districts are busy places during the summer, and Rush-Henrietta is no exception! While our kids enjoy sunshine, warm weather and sleeping in late, district employees remain hard at work, preparing for the opening of schools! The Transportation and Operations Center, or the TOC as it’s called, is homebase for bus drivers, mechanics, attendants and dispatchers, and the work they perform there ranges from backbreaking to mentally draining.
Getting R-H kids to and from school requires the formation of more than 471 bus routes composed of 7,376 bus stops. The routes are created based on attendance areas, but are shaped by alternate accommodations, or “stops other than home.” These stops are detailed on approximately 850 babysitting forms received at the transportation center annually. Throughout the summer,dispatchers enter these forms and create bus routes, which are then evaluated for safety, accuracy, and efficiency. District bus drivers do trial runs of their routes in mid-August, allowing dispatchers to fine tune the routes right up until the first day of school and provide the best possible service to our families.
R-H bus mechanics work all year long to maintain the district’s fleet of vehicles, but in the summer, they focus on bodywork, painting and repairing any damage the buses sustained during the school year. They also set up new buses, a process more involved than you might think. Each new bus is inspected visually and mechanically, has district decals applied, and is supplied with a fire extinguisher, garbage can, security cameras and a “child mate” system. This safety device activates an alarm that sounds two minutes after the vehicle has been shut off, requiring drivers to walk to the back of the bus to disable it and in the process check the seats for any stray passengers.
And last but far from least, for nearly two months every summer, the district employs crews who work behind the scenes at the transportation center to wash and clean every district vehicle, including all 130 school buses! The crews arrive at 6 a.m. and spray, scrub, scrape, and otherwise sanitize buses inside and out until 2 p.m. each day. Everything from the roof hatches to the dashboard to the aisle floor between the seats is cleaned to make sure that our buses are spotless and ready for the first day of school!