Fort Bend ISD transports 30,000 students daily, audit reports

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Fort Bend ISD has the second-highest transportation cost per rider among its district peers, according to an internal audit of FBISD’s student transportation department.

The district pays $4.53 per rider compared with Katy ISD’s $5.35 per rider, the highest, and $2.53 per rider paid by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, the lowest on the list.

When it comes to transportation cost per mile, FBISD pays $4.83, compared with $7.15 in KISD at the top and the lowest cost of $3.95 paid by Lewisville ISD, a district located near Dallas.

Greg Gibson, president of Gibson Consulting, led the audit and presented the findings to the FBISD board of trustees at its Aug. 12 meeting.

The audit addressed four areas: management and organization, transportation operations, fleet management and training and safety.

FBISD has two bus terminals, a $25 million transportation operating budget and employs 615 people in the department. It maintains 569 buses in its fleet, including 69 buses used as part of a contract with Goldstar, and transports 30,000 riders each day along 360 routes, traveling 54 million miles annually.

Similar to other school districts, however, FBISD faces a bus driver shortage, Gibson pointed out.

“The transportation department was able to provide the same level of service,” he said.

Gibson said the district did not have any compliance violations. He presented the board with 23 recommendations in each of the four areas, including several suggestions on how to mitigate the shortage.

The audit also found data integrity issues, such as inconsistencies in reporting accidents to the Texas Education Agency, and made recommendations on oversight and reconciling the data.

Recommendations were also made on performance measurement and accountability as well as long-term planning. For example, staggering the purchase of new buses rather than buying in bulk so a large number of similarly aged buses are not down for maintenance at the same time.

Following the implementation of the recommendations, FBISD’s board will revisit the audit in nine months to determine how well the district is doing.

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Christine Hall
Christine Hall joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2018, and covers Missouri City and Fort Bend ISD. She previously reported on health care innovation for the Texas Medical Center, was a freelancer, and held various news roles at the Houston Business Journal.
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