School bus transportation doesn't have to suffer in current economy

Public and private school districts that utilize fleet software will have more opportunities to save money and make better use of available resources. Managing bus routes is a necessary part of any school system's budget, but with cash in short supply for so many institutions throughout the U.S., transporting students to and from school can quickly become a challenge.

The economy has caused a variety of financial problems for states. In many cases, this has led to steep budget cuts for educational programs. For example, in Illinois, 121 school districts recently received some of the lowest overall ratings on the state's financial report card system, according to the Chicago Tribune. Sixty-two percent of all Illinois districts are currently facing substantial deficits. The newspaper reported that these problems will likely force school boards to make tough decisions about cutting programs or shedding staff to save money.

Improving fleet performance despite budget cuts
The efficiency and reliability of bus transportation doesn't have to suffer in these unfavorable financial conditions. Some states are even making efforts to ensure students in both urban and rural areas are able to get to school without worry every day. In California, state lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill that would provide full reimbursement of fleet costs to school districts. The Hanford Sentinel reported that the state currently pays for only half of these expenditures.

"It's easy to forget all the things that need to be purchased with the money, such as gas," Rick Rayburn, superintendent of the Leemore district, told the newspaper. "We need to remind legislators that transportation is still an important issue."

Even without the help of legislation, school districts throughout the U.S. can use transportation software to reduce the costs associated with operating a large fleet of buses every day. By using technology that identifies more efficient routes, managers will save fuel, which is often one of the most expensive inputs for these kinds of tasks. Schools can also use automated software to increase internal organization. For example, districts can plan driver schedules to achieve a more even and fair distribution of hours. They can also use these tools to set aside time for periodic bus maintenance projects.

When fleet owners are able to improve back-end processes associated with their daily routines, they will be more likely to enhance productivity. Shedding transportation costs will also help school districts limit the negative effects associated with existing state budget issues.