Wichita Public Schools, Wichita, Kan.
As the largest school district in the state of Kansas, Wichita Public Schools (WPS) has the remarkable task of educating 11% of the state’s public school students. More than 50,000 students attend the district’s 97 schools, with nearly 35% using yellow buses to get to school each day. With a long history of contracted bus services, WPS knew exactly what they wanted in a new transportation provider when they began seeking proposals in 2009 for the district’s 600-bus transportation system.
Wichita Public Schools issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) outlining the district’s priorities: service scalability, technology, large district transportation experience, communication, transparency, strong customer service and solid safety records. WPS wished to partner with a company whose focus was the school district’s future and long-term success.
Back-to-school season is an exciting yet stressful time of the year for school administrators and staff. While most of the administration focuses on what goes on inside the school, WPS Operations Division Director Darren Muci and Director of Transportation Fabian Armendariz concentrate on the complex process of getting more than 17,000 students to and from schools and extracurricular activities.
WPS had just made the decision to transition their 600-bus operation to First Student after 13 years with their previous provider. Each new school year brings change – whether it’s routes, boundaries, technology or tiers. WPS faced the added challenge of ensuring a smooth transition during school year startup.
“The logistics of running 600 buses every day is no small feat, but starting up the location for the first time was a huge undertaking. The logistics going into that were very complicated, and very challenging.”John Billigmeier, Region Vice President
Delivering the Solution
First Student’s primary focus was to ensure WPS received safe, problem-free transportation from the beginning. They started with a solid plan to transform the district’s current systems, buses, training materials, staff and location to make it a true First Student operation. Without delay, they went to work.
Download the case study to see how, with First Student as a partner, the district achieved its transportation goals and built the strong partnership they desired; and the students and parents of Wichita have the safe, reliable service they deserve.