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«Joel D. Montero Chief Executive Officer Fiscal crisis & ManageMent assistance teaM February 12, 2014 Jim Cloney, Superintendent Shasta Union High ...»

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Shasta Union High School District

Transportation Review

February 12, 2014

Joel D. Montero

Chief Executive Officer

Fiscal crisis & ManageMent assistance teaM

February 12, 2014

Jim Cloney, Superintendent

Shasta Union High School District

2200 Eureka Way Suite B

Redding, CA 96001

Dear Superintendent Cloney:

In May 2013, the Shasta Union High School District entered into a study agreement with the Fiscal

Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) for a study to perform the following:

As financial support for California school bus transportation continues to erode, Shasta Union High School District, Redding Elementary School District, Enterprise Elementary School District and the Shasta County Office of Education wish to have an impartial assessment of their regular and special education home-to-school transportation programs.

Research the potential of combining transportation services and operations to improve efficiency and reduce contributions from the general fund, with specific recommendations towards this goal.

This report contains the study team’s findings and recommendations.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and extend our thanks to all the staff of the Shasta Union High School District for their cooperation and assistance during fieldwork.

Sincerely, Joel D. Montero Chief Executive Officer FCMAT Joel D. Montero, Chief Executive O cer..

1300 17th Street - CITY CENTRE, Bakers eld, CA 93301-4533 Telephone 661-636-4611 Fax 661-636-4647...

422 Petaluma Blvd North, Suite. C, Petaluma, CA 94952 Telephone: 707-775-2850 Fax: 707-775-2854 www.fcmat.org Administrative Agent: Christine L. Frazier - O ce of Kern County Superintendent of Schools i

TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S

Table of contents About FCMAT

Introduction

Executive Summary

Findings and Recommendations

District and County Office Services

County Office Transportation Costs and Charge-Back Formula........ 19 California School Transportation Funding

Collaborative and Formal Partnerships

Joint Powers Agreement

Special Education Transportation

Appendices

–  –  –

About FCMAT FCMAT’s primary mission is to assist California’s local K-14 educational agencies to identify, prevent, and resolve financial and data management challenges. FCMAT provides fiscal and data management assistance, professional development training, product development and other related school business and data services. FCMAT’s fiscal and management assistance services are used not just to help avert fiscal crisis, but to promote sound financial practices and efficient operations. FCMAT’s data management services are used to help local educational agencies (LEAs) meet state reporting responsibilities, improve data quality, and share information.

FCMAT may be requested to provide fiscal crisis or management assistance by a school district, charter school, community college, county office of education, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, or the Legislature.

When a request or assignment is received, FCMAT assembles a study team that works closely with the local education agency to define the scope of work, conduct on-site fieldwork and provide a written report with findings and recommendations to help resolve issues, overcome challenges and plan for the future.

–  –  –

92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 FCMAT also develops and provides numerous publications, software tools, workshops and professional development opportunities to help local educational agencies operate more effectively and fulfill their fiscal oversight and data management responsibilities. The California School Information Services (CSIS) arm of FCMAT assists the California Department of Education with the implementation of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and also maintains DataGate, the FCMAT/CSIS software LEAs use for CSIS services. FCMAT was created by Assembly Bill 1200 in 1992 to assist LEAs to meet and sustain their financial obligations. Assembly Bill 107 in 1997 charged FCMAT with responsibility for CSIS and its statewide data management work. Assembly Bill 1115 in 1999 codified CSIS’ mission.

AB 1200 is also a statewide plan for county office of education and school districts to work together locally to improve fiscal procedures and accountability standards. Assembly Bill 2756 (2004) provides specific responsibilities to FCMAT with regard to districts that have received emergency state loans.

In January 2006, SB 430 (charter schools) and AB 1366 (community colleges) became law and expanded FCMAT’s services to those types of LEAs.

ShaSta Union high School DiStrictiv A B O U T F C M AT

Since 1992, FCMAT has been engaged to perform nearly 850 reviews for LEAs, including school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and community colleges. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools is the administrative agent for FCMAT. The team is led by Joel D.

Montero, Chief Executive Officer, with funding derived through appropriations in the state budget and a modest fee schedule for charges to requesting agencies.





Fiscal crisis & ManageMent assistance teaM

INTRODUCTION

Introduction Background The Shasta Union High School District, Redding Elementary School District, and Enterprise Elementary School District are located in Shasta County and supported by the Shasta County Office of Education.

Shasta Union has 16 feeder elementary school districts and is more than 1,863 square miles in size. The Redding and Enterprise elementary school districts, which are in the city of Redding, serve students in kindergarten through the eighth grade and feed students into Shasta Union.

Shasta Union is much larger than the Redding and Enterprise school districts and encompasses all of Redding as well as numerous communities in the northern part of the county. The three school districts collectively encompass the entire city and comprise approximately 1,900 square miles.

On May 1, 2013, the three districts and county office contracted with the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) to evaluate their individual transportation delivery systems as well as the collaborative transportation arrangement with the county office.

The scope and objectives of this study are as follows:

As financial support for California school bus transportation continues to erode, Shasta Union High School District, Redding Elementary School District, Enterprise Elementary School District and the Shasta County Office of Education wish to have an impartial assessment of their regular and special education home-to-school transportation programs. Research the potential of combining transportation services and operations to improve efficiency and reduce contributions from the general fund, with specific recommendations towards this goal.

Study Team

The team was composed of the following members:

–  –  –

Study Guidelines The FCMAT study team visited the district on July 22, 23, 24 and 25, 2013 to conduct interviews, collect data, and review documentation. This report is a result of these activities and is

divided into the following sections:

I. Executive Summary II. District and County Office Services III. County Office Transportation Costs and Charge-Back Formula IV. California School Transportation Funding V. Collaborative and Formal Partnerships VI. Joint Powers Agreement VII. Special Education Transportation Fiscal crisis & ManageMent assistance teaM

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Executive Summary The Shasta Union High School District, Redding Elementary School District, Enterprise Elementary School District, and Shasta County Office of Education requested an assessment of their transportation operations as well as the special education transportation provided by the county office. Redding Elementary contracts its transportation services to the county office, which staffs and administers the transportation program, but uses district buses. The district establishes the level of transportation service including rider eligibility, identified home-to-school bus stops, and school bell schedules, leaving the county office to adapt to these parameters. The district should review the impact of its decisions on transportation costs, including rider eligibility criteria, bus stops, and bell schedules.

Enterprise Elementary owns and operates its own bus fleet. The district does not have a suitable transportation facility to secure its buses, provide for vehicle maintenance, and have space for a transportation office. The district also does not charge sufficiently for internal school field trip transportation expenses. It should review external vehicle maintenance contract operations and consider utilizing the Shasta Union High School District, county office, or another neighboring district to provide service.

Shasta Union is the largest of three high school districts in the county, and the elementary districts in this study feed into it. The district should improve communications between the Transportation and Special Education departments to better coordinate special education transportation, including establishing a documented decision tree and transportation request form and process to identify individualized education program (IEP) transportation needs. Bus drivers should receive more training in meeting the needs of special education students. The district transportation facility adequately houses the fleet with room for slight expansion, but needs additional securing, including fencing.

The three districts could collectively benefit by creating a cooperative arrangement for hometo-school transportation led by one district. Shasta Union could most easily take the lead since it covers the geographical boundary area of all three. Assessing expenses for home-to-school transportation, and projecting program costs with a single lead agency could result in substantial financial benefits even without coordinating master bell schedules. Additional savings may be realized through further cooperation and coordination. The districts should review the potential of establishing a cooperative arrangement.

The county office operates a comprehensive program of special education transportation for most of the county’s school districts. In addition, it has specific contracts for home-to-school programs for the Anderson Union High and the Redding Elementary school districts. Approximately 141 of the 189 total special education students transported by the county office belong to the three school districts involved in this study. There is no formal contract for this arrangement. Districts are concerned about their increasing special education excess charge-back partially because they do not understand how costs are distributed to participating districts. A contract should be developed between provider and participants that specifically identifies the service arrangement and clarifies the cost distribution method. Regular meetings of all participant districts and the county office should be held to provide updates and address concerns. The county office performs vehicle maintenance at a competitive rate of $55 per hour, the lowest of the programs reviewed in this report and far less than the private competitor vehicle maintenance rates in the area. The county office’s vehicle maintenance rate is passed through to all program users as a benefit to all program participants. Creating a core vehicle maintenance rate based on fleet usage and maintenance for

ShaSta Union high School DiStrict4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

the home-to-school special education program could result in a lower rate for the core districts.

If the county office created an internal core vehicle maintenance program charge-back at actual expense, the “other” or noncore districts may pay a slightly higher rate per hour; however, the rate would still remain more competitive than private sector vendors and possibly other district programs in the county. The county office should determine the savings that could be generated for its home-to-school special education core district program, and develop an external noncore vehicle maintenance hourly rate.

The Shasta County districts should consider contracting all special education transportation with the county office. Because the county is remote and rural and has a number of small school districts, a single transportation system can provide greater efficiencies.

Fiscal crisis & ManageMent assistance teaM

DISTRICT AND COUNTY OFFICE SERVICES

Findings and Recommendations District and County Office Services Approximately one-half of the students in Shasta County attend the Shasta Union High School District, Redding Elementary School District, or Enterprise Elementary School District.

Approximately 75% (144 of 189) of the special education students transported by the county office attend one of those three school districts. All the districts in Shasta County belong to a single special education local plan area (SELPA), which is administered through the county office.

Redding Elementary School District (RESD) The Redding Elementary School District serves approximately 3,100 K-8 students and encompasses about 27.19 square miles. The district has seven elementary schools, one middle school, one community day school and two charter schools.

Redding Elementary School has fully contracted its home-to-school transportation program for more then 40 years and contracts with the county office; however, the district owns and insures a fleet of 14 buses. About eight years ago, the district entered into a bus lease-purchase agreement with a distributor for 12 buses, and financing was arranged through Bank of America. It is in the eighth year of the 9-year agreement. Eleven buses were purchased new in 2004, and a twelfth was purchased in May 2005, shortly after the initial agreement because one bus was damaged. Each of the 12 holds 84 passengers. Eleven are financed at the rate of 4.68% and the twelfth at 5.18%.



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