District 911 hears transportation update for next year

The Cambridge-Isanti School District Transportation Office logged 939,442 miles during the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 23,900 miles from the previous year.

The Cambridge-Isanti School Board heard an update from transportation director Mike Nelson during its July 25 meeting. Nelson provided an overview of the transportation department and discussed updates and future issues and challenges.

Nelson explained the district currently owns 95 yellow school buses, eight vans, nine school service vehicles, three driver education cars and three co-op partner vans for a total of 118 vehicles.

Due to all-day, every-day kindergarten beginning next year, Nelson said his department is in the process of rebalancing all last year’s routes to accommodate the kindergartners. Last year the school provided 57 general education routes, 15 special education routes and four early childhood routes for a total of 74 routes.

The transportation office consists of six full-time employees and 110 bus drivers.

Nelson said the district is 251 square miles and is in the top third of all school districts in geographic size but low in the number of students per mile.

As for transportation initiatives, Nelson explained the department will:

  • Continue to work with drivers to reduce engine idling times. The department is programming the engines to turn off automatically after a preset time (8 minutes).
  • Continue to add cameras to assist drivers in student management.
  • Explore the purchase of a “digital map” of the school district. This would aid in the location of homes and keep house numbers and streets updated.

Nelson explained transportation issues and challenges next year include the rerouting for all-day kindergarten; integration of the Arts and Science Academy students into the routes this year; stop-arm violations; need for more drivers; student management on the buses; new state mandated B10 bio-diesel fuel (double the previous requirement); and students are always on the move.

In other action, the board:

  • Heard the first reading of Policy No. 711, which deals with video recording on school buses, and of Policy No. 712, which deals with video surveillance other than on school buses.
  • Approved the district’s membership in the Minnesota School Board Association in the amount of $10,138.
  • Approved the district’s membership with Resource Training and Solutions in the amount of $11,578.
  • Approved the fuel and gasoline bid for the 2014-15 school year with Beaudry Oil & Propane from Elk River.
  • Approved an increase in substitute rates for paraprofessionals, lunchroom supervisors, food service, custodians and administrative assistants. The rates haven’t changed since 2006.