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New transportation director has ‘good feeling’ about busing in Rome district

Cara Dolan Berry
Staff writer
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Posted 9/2/22

The sale of the Fort Stanwix School Building and property, which has been going back and forth between buyers and sales contracts for the past year, is set to close on Friday, Sept. 16.

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New transportation director has ‘good feeling’ about busing in Rome district

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At the Rome City School District's board of education meeting on Monday, Robb Mezza, the assistant superintendent for operations and management, said that the sale of the Fort Stanwix School Building and property, which has been going back and forth between buyers and sales contracts for the past year, is set to close on Friday, Sept. 16.

In addition to the sale of the building, 110 W. Linden St., Mezza also shared the status of internal and external district audits and warned members and the community at large that they would see "a big surplus this year" due primarily to state and federal grants connected to COVID relief efforts, as well as the insurance money resulting from the flooding of Staley Elementary School one year ago, late August 2021.

"When you receive the report," forecast Mezza, "you’ll see a lot of ‘one time’ revenues."

Mezza concluded by introducing Thomas Waldron, the district’s new transportation director, whom Mezza lauded for his work with First Student, the district’s school bus contractor, to get the bus routes online in time for September 7.

Waldron reported to the Board that he had "a good feeling" that the transportation of students from home to school and back this year would be "as smooth as it can be." He shared that he had met with First Student this week and confirmed that there are 67 bus drivers in place for 59 routes. The district completed and submitted its routing to First Student this past week.

"Every route is filled with a driver," said Waldron. "It looks good."

Last fall, the start of the new school year was beset with issues surrounding both the flooding of Staley Elementary School, which led to a dispersal of students around the district, and related busing issues with First Student, which was in its first year of operation in the district following decades of transportation services from the Birnie Bus Company.

Waldron also shared that there are two apps parents can download to access information regarding school buses. "First View" is an app offered by First Student, which Waldron said functions primarily as a GPS. If a bus is late, parents can identify exactly where it is and its estimated time of arrival. The district now offers an app called Stop Finder.

"It’s working phenomenally," said Waldron, who noted the only hurdle is parents not having current emails, where he worked to notify families of the app by sending a mass information email. Waldron encouraged parents to be sure to have a valid email on file. 

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