Pennsylvania district improves efficiency and staff productivity by modernizing transportation
From District Administration / September 2023
Greenville Area School District seeing a variety of benefits from partnership with Transfinder
Finding ways to identify and reduce hidden costs through improved efficiency is a priority for most districts, but the task has a higher level of urgency for small school systems operating on budgets with thin margins. This was the case for the Greenville Area School District in Greenville, Pennsylvania, a rural community with an enrollment of about 1,200 students.
Identifying areas in need of improvement Brandon Mirizio had been a certified public accountant when he was hired as the Business Manager for the school district in 2018. Right from the start, Mirizio says one of his top priorities was to find ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs and modernize processes anywhere possible.
“One of the areas we looked at was transportation, and we found that everything was still being done with paper and pencil,” he says. “From mapping out bus routes, to manually inputting student information, it was all done by hand. It was tedious and time consuming, and we knew there had to be a better way to do things.”
Mirizio says he was still researching his options when the pandemic hit in early 2020. When the district would later return to in-person schooling, the need for modernization was made even more clear. “The pandemic exacerbated the problems with our transportation system, because of all the additional things we had to do quickly,” he says. “We had to space kids out on the bus, send homework home, and create an alternating bus schedule. All of it was made much slower and more difficult because we had to do it manually.”
Taking advantage of an unprecedented opportunity
Funding provided by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund of 2020 presented an opportunity for Greenville to make some long-overdue changes. “One of the ways we used those pandemic relief funds was to purchase and implement the bus routing and logistics software from Transfinder,” Mirizio says.
Transfinder provides a variety of intelligent routing, scheduling and fleet maintenance solutions that optimize school transportation logistics. Districts can select which solutions they use based on their needs. Greenville uses Routefinder PLUS for routing and Viewfinder to monitor the bus fleet in real time.
“It has been fantastic,” Mirizio says. “It was a slow process at first, but only because we went from essentially having nothing to having a fully digital transportation and routing database. Using Transfinder has saved us a huge amount of time.”
Taking it to the next level
After the initial implementation, Mirizio says the goal was to go a step further to increase efficiency. “This year, by using Transfinder we were able to reduce our total routes by two, and eliminate the need for two buses, just by improving the efficiency of our existing routes,” he says. “We had been facing significant increases in transportation costs, and this made a big difference in keeping those costs down. In addition, we’ve been able to reduce some of our ride times, so our students don’t ride for as long, and drivers don’t have to drive for as long. That makes it better for everyone.”
Seeing a variety of benefits
Mirizio says the impacts have been wide ranging. “Our staff members’ time is so much better spent now, everyone is more productive, and all our data is easier to understand and evaluate,” he says. “In the past we would have to manually input bus numbers, routes and stop times into a document, to be printed out and mailed. Now, we can just
run a report in Transfinder in a few minutes.”
“This is just the start, it’s an ongoing process to improve efficiency,” he continues. “There’s no way we could do any of this without Transfinder, and there are additional features and modules available in the platform that we want to explore. Transfinder has been wonderful to work with. They have exceeded our expectations.”