Meet Josh Rice: Klein ISD Director of Transportation
In celebrating National School Bus Safety and Bus Driver Appreciation Week, we sat down with Josh Rice, the Director of Transportation and Fleet Services for Klein ISD, to talk about what these weeks mean to him and his role in the District.
Read on to catch a glimpse of Josh’s “day in the life” as the Director of Transportation and Fleet Services.
Can you elaborate on the importance of National School Bus safety week and how it benefits our students?
“National School Bus Safety Week is a nation-wide community outreach to make people aware of the importance of school bus safety. The week covers everything from student loading and unloading to making sure drivers stop at the blinking red school bus lights and stop signs. It benefits our students because if we can educate the public on bus safety, we can make sure our students have a safer and more efficient school transportation experience.”
What does a typical day as the Director of Transportation and Fleet Services for Klein ISD look like for you?
“The transportation department starts at around 4:00 a.m. bringing folks in for morning runs and runs to about midnight every night. We keep those hours on the fleet side because we have child nutrition vehicles out, plant ops, maintenance, police officers, and those folks need their equipment serviced as well. Our bus fleet stops moving around 6:00 p.m., so we’re able to get a lot of preventative maintenance done like oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections done after hours.
Getting kids to and from school safety is the most critical thing in my position. We are an essential part of the lives of many of our families, and we take that role very seriously.
The human relations side of the job is incredibly important to me as well. Making sure we’re hiring the right people is critical. We also need to make sure all our bus drivers receive the correct amount of extensive state-mandated training in addition to the extra hours we provide at Klein ISD.
Outside of HR and the day-to-day tasks, keeping up with our budget also takes up a big part of my job. We focus on buying fuel, parts, payroll, and making sure we don’t go over budget in those areas. Any money we can save on our side is money that is able to be spent in the classroom.”
What are some of the challenges you face in your role, especially right now during uncertain times?
“COVID has changed transportation, not just at Klein ISD, but as an industry. We are cleaning buses differently and much more frequently than we had before. We are also doing electrostatic disinfection of our buses daily, which we’ve never done before. We also are now working with the Plant Ops department to do continuous random testing of all surfaces. They come and swab different places on the buses to ensure what we’re doing is effective.”
What makes your job so rewarding for you?
“Last year, we transported an average of 23,000 students a day. That’s more than most cities in Texas. Safely moving 23,000 students in the morning and 23,000 students in the evening is an amazing thing. It’s neat to be a part of that and experience it every day here. In our department, we always say, “Education begins with Transportation.”
What makes Klein ISD’s Transportation Department a step above the rest?
“I think a lot of the things that we do are very unique to Klein. The training we put our folks through is much more rigorous than in other districts. Every time we have an in-service, we try to invite outside speakers that can bring relevant experience to our staff. We’ve worked with Region VI ESC to provide our staff with the School Bus Simulator, which is a huge trailer that has a full size bus simulator inside.”
Do you have any parting words?
“Our bus drivers are very important because they are the frontline staff that are taking the students back and forth every day.
In our department, we have folks that handle routing, field trips, dispatch, training, payroll, bus maintenance, and supervisory staff that works in the department just to keep up the pace of everything. Our staff members are always willing to go the extra mile and do whatever needs to be done.
We all appreciate everything they do, and we definitely could not transport 23,000 students twice daily without every single one of our 425 employees.”
Huge shoutout to Director of Transportation, Josh Rice, Josh, for all you do for our district and the students of Klein ISD. We are grateful for your service and care for the safety of our students.
Please continue to help us celebrate National School Bus Safety and Bus Driver Appreciation Week by showing your appreciation for our amazing Klein ISD Transportation team for dedicating their time to ensure that students in our community have safe and reliable transportation to and from school!
To read more about the Klein ISD Transportation Department, click HERE.
Best Public Schools in Texas
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About Klein ISD
Klein ISD is a school district in Klein, Texas located in northwestern Harris County. The district spans approximately 87.5 square miles and serves more than 54,000 students in 33 elementary schools, 10 intermediate campuses, one high school program of choice, and 5 high schools.
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