School transportation departments busy this time of year - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

School transportation departments busy this time of year

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Courtney Burrows is helping fill the most immediate challenge for Nacogdoches Independent School District Transportation. She's a new driver.  As she maneuvers the 40 foot long bus she said, " Scary at first, but it didn't take long to figure out it wouldn't hurt you if you didn't let it."

The district is close to filling all the vacancies. A bus sits in front the high school with a banner reading, ' Drivers Needed, $10 an hour'. Burrows wasn't really looking for a job.  " I kinda came across a flyer. We were on our way to WalMart and someone handed me a flyer and I figured, why not, " she said. The hours appealed to the mother of small children.  

William Garrett is taking care of the other challenge. He stands in the aisle way reminding Burrows,  " We do not make right turns on red. " The training supervisor oversees twenty five hours of classroom instruction and at least that amount of behind the wheel instruction. Garrett advised,  " If you learn to use these mirrors you can take this bus anywhere any other vehicle can go. The mirrors are your friend, speed is your enemy. "

Along the way Garrett fine tunes the routes that must accommodate new start times and full day Pre-K. His boss, Loy Walker, makes sure drivers have what it takes to pick up and deliver. The Director of NISD Transportation said,  " We cover 225 square miles. We run approximately 950,000 miles a year. And we use approximately 125-130,000 gallons of fuel per year. "  

Districts are encouraged by the state to use propane to run busses.   Nacogdoches ISD was actually ahead of its time. These busses, about 20 years ago ran on propane, but the program was short lived. Walker thinks, too bad it's not still around. Walker said, " I think it would have been a good business decision, but diesel wasn't as high as it is now.  " 

With today's prices the district is reevaluating field trips and is enacting a no idling policy. Busses will be turned off prior to loading.

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