As families count down the days to the first day of school, some bus drivers are already hard at work in Dallas Independent School District.
"They're motivating us and encouraging us to be at our top level," said David Ford. He has been a school bus driver for 26 years. Ford is among roughly 800 drivers and bus monitors who are making a transition from the troubled Dallas County Schools’ system to Dallas ISD this year.
More than 1,000 transportation workers are spending the next two weeks in special in-service training. They are practicing Dallas ISD’s new protocols and preparing for the new school year.
"It's been tough for those who've had many years with Dallas County Schools,” Ford explained. “But we're looking forward to the new challenge with DISD."
This transition comes after taxpayers voted to phase out Dallas County Schools’ bus agency over financial scandal. It means Dallas ISD had to start a new Student Transportation Services Department. Administrators with the new team say families can expect some innovative changes.
"To make parents just a little bit easier, we'll have the routes posted online for their ease of mind, knowing their students will have a bus on the first day of school,” Leigh Giddens explained.
Giddens is joining Dallas ISD’s Student Transportation Services team after 34 years with Dallas County Schools. She says some other safety changes are also happening.
"We are integrating a GPS or zonar system for the safety of our vehicles,” Giddens said.
Dallas ISD is already updating its branding and logo on hundreds of school buses. The drivers and monitors are spending the next couple of weeks doing dry runs of their routes.
Administrators say they are still looking to hire more workers in Dallas ISD’s Student Transportation Services Department. For more details, you can visit: https://www.dallasisd.org/transportation