CCISD gears up for continued safe student transportation
Special to Leader-Press
The Texas mandated elementary classroom ratio is one teacher per 22 students. For a school bus driver, the ratio is one driver to 60 students. Copperas Coved ISD’s drivers start their work days two hours before anyone else and end two hours later than everyone else and with no air conditioning.
The CCISD Transportation Department continues the tradition of providing excellent service to Copperas Cove students and campuses, said Gary Elliott, CCISD Director of Support Services.
“The drivers I cannot say enough about. They are the first contact for students in the morning and the last in the evening,” Elliott said. “Anybody that would turn his back (to keep his eyes on the road) on 60-plus students in today’s traffic and get them home safely is a credit in my eyes.”
CCISD’s 93 employees ensure the buses are clean, well-maintained and safe as they run their routes and trips. CCISD Deputy Superintendent of Operations and Support Services Rick Kirkpatrick said being a bus driver is a very difficult job.
“I am proud of each and every one of these employees,” Kirkpatrick said. “These devoted folks work long hours, travel all over the state, manage up to 50 students alone while driving, and still keep our students safe.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during normal school travel hours, student fatalities by teen drivers make up 58 percent of all fatalities, fatalities when traveling with adult drivers make up 23 percent of all fatalities, while only one percent of fatalities occur when traveling by school bus.
“This equates to students being 50 times more likely to arrive at school and back home alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends,” Kirkpatrick said. “Our drivers undergo drug and alcohol testing throughout the year and undergo frequent driving record checks to ensure our students are safe.”
“Our newest buses are extremely well equipped. As we replace our fleet, the new buses are equipped with technology to keep the riders safe, air conditioning and front and rear cameras.”
Each CCISD bus is equipped with a four-camera system with video cameras mounted in both the front and the rear and air conditioning. CCISD has not purchased any new buses for this school year. Elliott said the average replacement for a bus is 15 years but credits an experienced mechanical staff that keeps the buses functionally sound extending their lives in the fleet.
“The next time you pass a CCISD bus, give the driver a friendly smile and a wave and thank them for their part in making CCISD a great place to be,” Kirkpatrick said.