School Transportation Safety Review Continues

SAFETY FIRST – Schools Superintendent John Ravally said the District is still reviewing and strengthening its transportation safety policies and procedures.

The school district is continuing to review and assess its transportation safety related procedures and policies, the schools Superintendent said at the Board of Education’s September 28 meeting.

While some specification review was underway, the safety review comes in the wake of the death in July of a 6-year-old special needs child whose strangulation by the harness of her wheelchair went unnoticed by the bus monitor.

The monitor, a New Brunswick resident, was charged with manslaughter in connection with the incident.

The district in August contracted with Pupil Transportation Safety Institute to help with auditing the district’s transportation contractors, schools Superintendent John Ravally said at the meeting.

“PTSI is working alongside the district’s transportation staff as they work to develop an auditing strategy,” he said.

The company is also “helping district staff develop a stronger bid specification for the process of re-bidding current routes and all future routes foreword this year, and in preparation of advertising a. new multi-year to-and-from contract later this winter,” he said.

The District is looking for bids for phase two of that work, which entails strengthening “loading and unloading procedures at various schools as well as providing ongoing coaching and mentoring for transportation staff especially in regards to transportation safety,” Ravally said.

“We hope to be in a position to award the contract next month so we are ready to mobilize the first day once the audit is complete, which we anticipate will occur by the end of December,” he said.

Board secretary Brian Bonanno said the work is to ensure “that everything is done right.”

“We’re doing soup to nuts review of everything we do just to be sure we’re doing it the best we can,” he said. “I don’t know what will come of it, but if we can be safer than we have been, we will embrace it.”

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