These Florida schools are short on staff, big on automation

These Florida schools are short on staff, big on automation

BY DONNA YOUNG | GCN STAFF

Florida's Polk County School District transports 43,000 children each school day using 466 buses. The district's school bus transportation area covers about 2,000 square miles.

Arby Creach, Transportation Services operations director, said some of the bus routes have 20 to 30 miles between each stop.

'Mapping and automation play a big role in how we transport our kids,' he said.

Creach said the district has used an automated routing system as part of its fleet management since 1986.

'We are a department that is short on staff, so we need automation in a big way to keep things manageable,' Creach said.

The district uses MapNet Plus from Trapeze Software Group Inc. of Cleveland. The application resides on a 200-MHz Pentium II ProLiant 5000 server with 128M of RAM from Compaq Computer Corp.

The school system uses Transportation Operations Manager from Gecko Microsolutions Inc. of Phoenix to automatically schedule buses for field trips.

Creach said the district uses mySAP from SAP America Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa., to manage work orders for vehicles.

'With this system, we can bar code parts and then account for them better because each part is scanned,' he said. The system helps the district save money and time because mechanics no longer have to leave work areas when they need to order parts.

'They can just sit down at a terminal right there in the shop and order the part on the system,' he said.

The district runs mySAP on an IBM ES/7000 mainframe.

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