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Achieving Success for a Growing District
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Achieving Success for a Growing District

Community Unit School District 5, Normal, Ill.


On May 8, 1948, voters in a small Illinois town approved the formation of a school district that is today legally known as Community Unit School District No. 5 (Unit 5), McLean and Woodford Counties, Illinois. The nation has grown and changed in leaps and bounds since then. So, too, has Unit 5.

Unit 5 is among the Top 10 growing districts in the state of Illinois and with that growth comes challenges in managing the expanding scope of student transportation. Since its founding, Unit 5 had operated its own school bus service in-house. With continuous population growth in the district, Unit 5’s transportation demands became increasingly cumbersome; administrators sought a way to streamline transportation operations and lighten the management burden being placed upon school administrators. After reviewing their program and considering various alternatives, Unit 5 selected First Student to manage its transportation system.


Unit 5 buses travel nearly 1.9 million miles annually, safely transporting more than 10,000 students to and from school each day. Each passing year, the number of children needing transportation grows and this growth left the district with a chaotic and confusing busing system. 

According to Board of Education President John Pazuaskas, “When we formed, we were a very small rural school district and have grown dramatically. Over time it really became the equivalent of a mass transit department.” The district needed a change. Pazuaskas explains that the decision to contract busing was not easy, “It’s really hard because we’ve been doing (transportation) the same way for 60 years and to say ‘Let’s do it differently’ is hard for any organization, especially something as intense and as massive as this is.”

Delivering the Solution

With a century of experience, First Student immediately knew how to pull a constantly changing operation into a streamlined and effective system of drivers, routes and buses. 

Download the case study to see how First Student rolled out new efficiencies and cost reductions within the district.

“From a customer service standpoint, from my perspective, First Student hit the mark dead on. First Student has delivered what we’ve asked First Student to deliver.” 

John Pazuaskas, Board of Education President