District’s transportation department honored by peers

The District’s Department of Transportation, a trendsetter among its peers nationally, has won the Michigan State Business Officials (MSBO) Meridian award for its innovative Safety Net Centers, which offers the District’s students whose parents have not picked them up on time a safe haven.

The District operates two centers, one on the Westside and another on the Eastside. The former has been operating since 2001; the latter opened last year. The centers are the first of their kind in the country and have drawn considerable attention from many school districts.

The centers are unique because rather than being taken to a police station or some other sterile government facility, students can wait for their parents in comfortable surroundings where they can do their homework and socialize under the supervision of qualified adults. In the last year, the number of students taking advantage of the service more than doubled, rising from 642 to 1610.

Meridian Award winners will be featured in this month’s issue of the MSBO newsletter. A representative of the District’s transportation department will receive the award, a beautiful crystal, at MSBO’s annual banquet in Grand Rapids on April 25. MSBO officials will formally present a $500 check to the Detroit Public Schools at a board meeting in either May or June. The money will go toward the District’s scholarship fund.

MSBO is a 70-year-old organization that is dedicated to serving the varied interests of education.

The Safety Net Center program is just one of many performance indicators that showcases the creativity and hard work of the District’s transportation department.

Under my administration, the department has:

Reduced reported transportation concerns by 50 percent.

Substantially increased the percentage of buses passing initial state inspection from 44 percent in 2004 to 75 percent last year.

Increased doubled tiered bus routes from 37 percent in 2005-06 to 67 percent this year.

Reduced accident rates in buses that convey our students to schools. This drop includes buses owned and operated by vendors as well.

Reduced payroll processing errors from 2.52 percent in 2004-05 to 0.68 percent. Incidentally, the national banking average is 3 percent.

“I wish to congratulate transportation chief Jovon Boyer and his first-class team on winning this award,” said Superintendent William F. Coleman III.

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