Innovative Solutions for Two Common District Operations Challenges


At the 2017 COO conference for the Council of Great City Schools, operations leaders from across the country were asked to surface their biggest operations challenges and share innovative solutions they had found. Among the myriad of issues operations leaders face, districts reported 2 common challenges:

  1. Bus driver shortages
  2. Difficulty hiring trades people for positions in the M&O department

Read below to learn about the underlying factors they identified in their challenges, the innovatives solutions used to address them, and how key performance indicators can demonstrate their success to district stakeholders.

Literacy Tutoring to Avoid Bus Driver Shortages

A district that faced a shortage of bus drivers learned that their applicants were unable to pass a state-mandated reading test. Their solution? Provide tutoring for the bus drivers to help them pass the test. The additional support on the front-end of the testing process ensured that the district had access to a pipeline of qualified drivers and avoided a bus driver shortage.

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The top performing district was able to demonstrate a 3.57% bus driver turnover rate in 2014-15. Read more about transportation key performance indicators in our benchmark report with the Council of Great City Schools, or contact us for a demonstration of how to benchmark your district's performance against peers.

Centralization of Purchasing to Reduce Custodial Cost per Square Foot 

Another district discussed centralizing their custodial department as a way to help reduce costs and retain staff. The new centralized office purchases all the supplies and provides standardize training which each custodian is required to take annually. The training addressed gaps in performance that were backed up by data, and allowed operations leaders to:

  • Create a standard for how to clean a building
  • Facilitate the sharing of best-practicing by allowing more tenured custodians to pass along knowledge to newer hires
  • Purchase discounted, bulk supplies because all sites use the same materials

In school year 2014-15, some districts spent less than 5 cents per square foot on custodial supplies. The ActPoint KPI Community Forum gives you the opportunity to reach out and identify what the most efficient districts are doing to achieve cost-saving results. custodial cost per square foot.png


Phillip Smith

About The Author

Phillip leverages his extensive software and education industry experience to share innovative solutions for many of our valued TransAct customers and partners. As leader of AfterSchool21 and OutOfSchoolTime-Tracker sales, he helps support after-school program administrators in parent pay management and accurate 21APR reporting. Phillip also leads the ActPoint KPI team and the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) partnership. ActPointKPI supports district and state business leaders nationwide in their efforts to manage costs and drive resources back to where they belong–the classroom.