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Chapter 9
STUDENT TRANSPORTATION

This chapter reviews the transportation operations of the Kerrville Independent School District (KISD) in four sections:

A. Organization and Management
B. Safety and Training
C. Routing and Scheduling
D. Fleet Maintenance

The primary goal of every school district's transportation department is to transport eligible students to and from school and approved extracurricular activities in a timely, safe and efficient manner.

BACKGROUND

The Texas Education Code (TEC) authorizes but does not require Texas school districts to provide transportation for students in the general population between home and school, from school to career and technology training locations and for extracurricular activities. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a school district to provide transportation for students with disabilities if it also provides transportation for students in the general population, or if students with disabilities require transportation to receive special education services.

Texas school districts are eligible for state reimbursement for transporting regular program, special program and career and technology education (CATE) students. The Texas Legislature sets transportation funding rules, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) administers the program. TEA requires each school district eligible for state reimbursement to provide two annual school transportation reports, the Route Services Report and the Operations Report. The Route Services Report documents reimbursable miles traveled and the number of riders by program and subprogram. "Reimbursable miles" are defined as verified mileage for transporting eligible students between their residences and their respective schools. The reimbursable miles for a route are determined using the last school served as the route's starting and ending point.

State funding for regular program transportation is limited to transportation for students living two or more miles from the school they attend. The state does not reimburse districts for transporting students living within two miles of school unless they face hazardous walking conditions on the way to school, such as the need to cross a four-lane roadway without a traffic signal or crossing guard. The state will reimburse districts for transporting students on hazardous routes within two miles of school; however, the reimbursement may not exceed 10 percent of the total annual reimbursement for transporting students living two or miles away. School districts must use local funds to pay for transportation costs the state does not cover.

For regular program routes, the state reimburses districts for qualifying transportation expenses based on the previous year's "linear density"-the ratio of the average number of regular program students transported daily on standard routes to the number of route miles traveled daily. Standard miles and riders do not include miles or riders for alternative, bilingual, desegregation, magnet, parenting or year-round transportation programs or hazardous area service.

TEA uses this ratio to assign each school district to one of seven linear density groups, each eligible for a different maximum per-mile allotment (Exhibit 9-1).

Exhibit 9-1
Linear Density Groups
Linear
Density
Group
Allotment
Per
Mile
2.40 and above $1.43
1.65 to 2.40 $1.25
1.15 to 1.65 $1.11
0.90 to 1.15 $0.97
0.65 to 0.90 $0.88
0.40 to 0.65 $0.79
Up to 0.40 $0.68
Source: TEA, Handbook on School Transportation Allotments, revised May 2001.

In 2000-01, KISD was in the third-lowest linear density group. KISD was entitled to a reimbursement of 88 cents per route mile for regular program miles. In the same year, the district's actual operations cost (total annual costs less debt service and capital outlay) was $1.89 per odometer mile. (Odometer miles are all miles driven, including miles for extracurricular trips, maintenance and trips to and from bus routes.) Exhibit 9-2 compares KISD's linear density with those of its peer districts. Levelland has been omitted as a peer from the Transportation chapter because its transportation function is significantly smaller and skews the peer averages.

Exhibit 9-2
KISD vs. Peer Districts
Linear Density
2000-01
District Standard
Regular
Riders***
Standard
Regular
Miles**
Linear
Density
Allotment
Per
Mile***
Midlothian 267,660 215,637 1.241 $1.11
Aransas County 212,940 240,822 0.884 $1.11
Marble Falls 209,880 285,120 0.736 $0.88
Brenham 244,080 371,700 0.657 $0.88
Peer Average 233,640 278,320 0.880 $1.00
Kerrville 158,940 160,380 0.991 $0.88
Source: TEA, School Transportation Route Services Reports, 2000-01. Annual riders calculated by multiplying average daily riders by 180 school days.
**Does not include miles or riders for other regular education programs, including alternative, bilingual, desegregation, magnet, parentingand year-round transportation or hazardous area service.
***Based on 1999-2000 linear density.

Reimbursement for special program transportation is not based on linear density but instead is set by the Texas Legislature. All transportation for special program students, except certain extracurricular trips, is eligible for state reimbursement at $1.08 per route mile. In 2000-01, KISD's actual cost for special program transportation was $1.39 per odometer mile.

The reimbursement for CATE transportation is based on the cost for regular program miles for the previous fiscal year, as reported by the district in the TEA School Transportation Operation Report. In 2000-01, KISD received an allotment of $1.69 for each reimbursable CATE mile.

Reimbursable miles are miles driven on routes; they do not include miles driven to or from a route, which are called "deadhead" miles, or miles driven for maintenance purposes. KISD operated 197,560 reimbursable regular program miles, 60,365 reimbursable special program miles, and 3,016 reimbursable CATE miles in 2000-01. Exhibit 9-3 compares KISD's reimbursable route miles with those of its peer districts.

Exhibit 9-3
KISD vs. Peer Districts
Reimbursable Route Miles by Category
2000-01
  Regular
Program
Reimbursable
Miles
Special
Program
Reimbursable
Miles
CATE
Program
Reimbursable
Miles
Brenham 375,660 104,940 0
Marble Falls 297,360 115,560 2,640
Aransas County 260,982 99,998 23,760
Midlothian 253,287 73,269 30,072
Peer Average 296,822 98,442 14,118
Kerrville 197,560 60,365 3,016
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report and School Transportation Route Services Reports, 2000-01.

In 2000-01, KISD received a total of $244,144 in state transportation funding. Exhibit 9-4 compares KISD's total 2000-01 annual operations cost and state allotments for regular and special transportation, including CATE, with those of its peer districts. KISD had the lowest percentage of reimbursement for regular transportation, but the second-highest percentage of reimbursement for special program transportation.

Exhibit 9-4
KISD vs. Peer Districts
State Allotment
2000-01
District Regular Program Special Program
Operations Cost* State Allotment Percent State Operations Cost* State Allotment Percent State
Aransas County $815,930 $345,117 42% $109,589 $107,998 99%
Marble Falls $733,303 $267,854 37% $152,429 $124,805 82%
Midlothian $599,303 $347,307 58% $113,010 $79,131 70%
Brenham $913,400 $330,581 36% $209,000 $114,151 55%
Peer Average $765,484 $322,715 42% $146,007 $106,521 73%
Kerrville $569,186 $176,895 31% $80,124 $67,249 84%
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report and School Transportation Route Services Reports, 2000-01.
*Operations cost excludes capital outlay and debt service.

Exhibit 9-5 compares KISD's annual riders, total annual odometer miles and number of total buses to those of the peer districts in 2000-01. The mileage and rider numbers include the CATE program.

Exhibit 9-5
KISD vs. Peer Districts
Operating Statistics
2000-01
  Regular Program Special Program
District Annual Riders* Total Odometer Miles Total Buses Annual Riders* Total Odometer Miles Total Buses
Midlothian 351,180 315,267 40 13,140 82,608 9
Brenham 257,220 488,847 53 9,540 102,738 4
Marble Falls 243,180 347,951 35 10,620 91,175 8
Aransas County 234,540 366,289 31 10,080 101,538 8
Peer Average 271,530 379,589 40 10,845 94,515 7
Kerrville 178,560 300,914 30 14,760 57,702 5
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report and School Transportation Route Services Report, 2000-01.
* Annual riders calculated by multiplying average daily riders by 180 school days.

Exhibit 9-6 compares 2000-01 transportation cost efficiency and cost effectiveness indicators for KISD and its peer districts, based on TEA data. Cost per odometer mile is determined by dividing total annual operations cost (less debt service and capital outlay) by total annual odometer miles. The number of miles used to calculate the cost per odometer mile is taken from the TEA School Transportation Operation Report. These miles include deadhead and maintenance miles and other sources of added miles. Cost per rider is determined by dividing total annual operations cost (less debt service and capital outlay) by total annual riders. Total annual riders are determined by multiplying average daily riders by 180 school days. These figures include CATE program riders and miles.

Exhibit 9-6
KISD vs. Peer Districts
Cost Efficiency and Effectiveness Indicators
2000-01
District Regular Program Special Program
Cost/ Odometer Mile Cost/Rider Cost/ Odometer Mile Cost/Rider
Aransas County $2.23 $3.48 $1.08 $10.87
Marble Falls $2.11 $3.02 $1.67 $14.35
Midlothian $1.90 $1.71 $1.37 $8.60
Brenham $1.87 $3.55 $2.03 $21.91
Peer Average $2.02 $2.82 $1.54 $13.46
Kerrville $1.89 $3.19 $1.39 $5.43
Percent Difference Compared to Peer Average (6%) 13% (10%) (60%)
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report and School Transportation Route Services Report, 2000-01.

KISD's regular program cost per odometer mile and cost per rider are similar to those of the peer districts. KISD's special program cost per rider, however, is lowest among the peer districts and 60 percent lower than the peer average in 2000-01. This is likely the result of using transfers in special program routes. All regular and special routes meet at central locations for students to transfer between buses.

Exhibit 9-7 compares productivity indicators for KISD and its peer districts based on TEA data. The riders per route mile measure is determined by dividing total annual riders by total annual route miles. Total annual riders are determined by multiplying average daily riders by 180 school days. The riders per bus are determined by dividing average daily riders by the total number of buses. These figures include CATE program mileage.

Exhibit 9-7
KISD vs. Peer Districts
Service Effectiveness Indicators
2000-01
District Regular Program Special Program
Riders/
Reimbursable Mile
Riders/Bus Riders/
Reimbursable Mile
Riders/Bus
Aransas County 0.82 42 0.10 7
Marble Falls 0.84 39 0.12 7
Midlothian 1.34 49 0.18 8
Brenham 0.62 27 0.10 13
Peer Average 0.91 39 0.12 9
Kerrville 0.83 33 0.27 16
Percent Difference Compared to Peer Average (9%) (15%) 125% 78%
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report and School Transportation Route Services Report, 2000-01.

KISD's regular program riders per reimbursable mile figure was lower than the peer average in 2000-01, but similar to statistics for Aransas County ISD and Marble Falls ISD. Riders per bus was 15 percent lower than the peer average. Special program productivity was significantly higher than the peer districts, though. Riders per reimbursable mile measured 125 percent higher than the peer average, while riders per bus was 78 percent higher. Again, high performance for special education is likely the result of using transfers in the special program routes.

Exhibit 9-8 documents five years of KISD transportation service by category of service.

Exhibit 9-8
KISD Annual Miles of Service
1996-97 through 2000-01
  1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 Percent Change
1996-2001
Regular Program Transportation
Route Miles (with deadhead) 218,444 232,643 237,269 216,294 216,294 (1%)
Extracurricular Miles 39,910 101,870 107,509 98,063 82,732 107%
Other Miles* 1,829 495 250 292 1,888 3%
Annual Regular Miles 260,183 335,008 345,028 314,649 300,914 16%
Special Program Transportation
Route Miles (with deadhead) 47,560 55,569 70,312 54,466 54,466 15%
Extracurricular Miles 1,678 1,593 1,593 3,766 2,743 63%
Other Miles* 55 525 55 347 493 796%
Annual Special Miles 49,293 57,687 71,960 58,579 57,702 17%
Total 309,476 392,695 416,988 373,228 358,616 16%
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Reports, 1996-97 through 2000-01.
* "Other" miles consist of all miles other than route miles, mileage to and from routes and extracurricular miles
.

Route miles generally have not varied greatly from year to year. Regular and special program transportation had higher route mileages in 1997-98 and 1998-99. Extracurricular miles increased over the five-year period. Extracurricular miles rose by 155 percent between 1996-97 and 1997-98, and special program extracurricular trips rose by 136 percent from 1998-99 to 1999-2000. The Transportation director could not explain these variations.

Exhibit 9-9 compares KISD's total and extracurricular transportation miles with those of the peer districts. Extracurricular miles include student transportation for field trips and extracurricular activities such as athletics, band and University Interscholastic League events. KISD operates more extracurricular miles than the peer average.

Exhibit 9-9
Extracurricular Miles
KISD vs. Peer Districts
2000-01
District Total Odometer
Miles*
Extracurricular
Miles*
Percent
Extracurricular
Brenham 591,585 67,188 11%
Aransas County 467,827 80,518 17%
Marble Falls 439,126 55,141 13%
Midlothian 397,875 60,357 15%
Peer Average 474,103 65,801 14%
Kerrville 358,616 85,475 24%
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report, 2000-01.
*Includes both regular and special program transportation.

Exhibit 9-10 compares KISD's transportation costs as a percent of total district expenditures with those of the peer districts. KISD's figures are broadly comparable with those of its peers.

Exhibit 9-10
Transportation Cost as a Percent of Total Budgeted Expenditures
KISD vs. Peer Districts
2000-01
District Total
District
Expenditures
Transportation
Operations
Cost*
Percent of
Total
Expenditures
Brenham $30,873,255 $1,122,400 4%
Midlothian $30,583,350 $712,313 2%
Aransas County $25,209,339 $925,519 4%
Marble Falls $24,774,811 $885,732 4%
Peer Average $27,860,189 $911,491 3%
Kerrville $24,435,110 $649,310 3%

Sources: TEA, AEIS, 2000-01; TEA, School Transportation Operation Report, 2000-01.
*Includes both regular and special program transportation.

Exhibit 9-11 provides a five-year history of KISD transportation performance data.

Exhibit 9-11
KISD Regular and Special Program Transportation Historical Data
1996-97 through 2000-01
  1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-01 Percent Change
1996-2001
Operations Cost*
Regular Program $449,420 $502,243 $490,913 $529,987 $569,186 27%
Special Program $103,331 $108,857 $83,134 $87,657 $80,124 (22%)
Total $552,751 $611,100 $574,047 $617,644 $649,310 17%
Annual Odometer Miles
Regular Program 260,183 335,008 345,028 314,649 300,914 16%
Special Program 49,293 57,687 71,960 58,579 57,702 17%
Total 309,476 392,695 416,988 373,228 358,616 16%
Cost per Odometer Mile
Regular Program $1.73 $1.50 $1.42 $1.68 $1.89 10%
Special Program $2.10 $1.89 $1.16 $1.50 $1.39 (34%)
Annual Riders
Regular Program 198,180 194,220 197,100 179,460 178,560 (10%)
Special Program 12,600 13,140 34,560** 12,060 14,760 17%
Total 210,780 207,360 231,660 191,520 193,320 (8%)
Cost per Rider
Regular Program $2.27 $2.59 $2.49 $2.95 $3.19 41%
Special Program $8.20 $8.28 $2.41 $7.27 $5.43 (34%)
Source: TEA, School Transportation Operation Report, 1996-97 through 2000-01, TEA, School Transportation Route Services Report, 1996-97 through 2000-01.
*Operations cost exclude capital outlay and debt service.
**Reporting error.

KISD's regular transportation costs rose by 27 percent over the five-year period. Ridership and mileage have fallen since 1998-99. As a result, costs per odometer mile and per rider have been increasing the past three years. The cost per odometer mile rose by 33 percent from $1.42 to $1.89 from 1998-99 to 2000-01. The cost per rider increased by 28 percent, from $2.49 to $3.19, between 1998-99 and 2000-01.

Special program costs fell by 24 percent, from $108,857 to $83,134, between 1997-98 and 1998-99, and generally have stayed at this level. Ridership and mileage remained steady over the five-year period. As a result, costs per odometer mile and per rider fell. Special program transportation cost per odometer mile fell by 34 percent, from $2.10 to $1.39; the cost per rider also fell by 34 percent from $8.20 to $5.43. The Transportation director could not explain these increases and decreases.

Exhibit 9-12 summarizes KISD transportation operations cost for each of five years by object of expenditure as defined by TEA.

Exhibit 9-12
KISD Transportation Operations Cost by Type of Expenditure
1996-97 through 2000-01
Object 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 Percent of
Total 2000-01
Percent
Change
Salaries & Benefits 348,249 420,443 416,366 420,217 470,893 73% 35%
Purchased Services 20,699 26,506 26,448 27,538 24,896 4% 20%
Supplies and Material 165,436 146,538 114,307 105,826 133,254 21% (19%)
Other Expenses 18,367 17,613 16,926 64,063 20,267 3% 10%
Total Cost 552,751 611,100 574,047 617,644 649,310 N/A 17%
Source: TEA, School Transportation Route Services Reports, 1996-97 through 2000-01.