The school district has received the award for providing greater access for families to the public learning options that best meet children's needs.
CESD faces several challenges, the need to establish transportation hubs for homeless students and carpooling families, and the desire to serve more neighborhoods on the fringe and outside the district, including the military base. Additionally, parents expressed interest in being able to track student routes through a mobile app which would alert them about route changes, delays, and arrival times. Because of their limited routes the last two school years, parents have expressed frustration with inconsistent arrival/departure times for their students. CESD would like to have a technology tool at their disposal that can inform, track, and update families and school leadership on all transportation-related issues.
CESD proposes to develop a menu of transit options with this grant. Easier to staff and deploy vans, new electric buses and charging station, and system wide technology enhancements will make routing more efficient, streamline fleet management, reduce calls to dispatch, ensure data security, and regularly capture student ridership. The current staffing, student demand, and aging vehicles require this bundle of transit options to ensure safe transport of students and to diversify the portfolio of options for getting kids to and from their school of choice in the Yuma public school community. One of the electric buses will be used for the route to the military base to support 65 students of military families that utilize open enrollment within CESD and have been largely without reliable transportation options.
Currently, CESD's student demographic is laid out with 100% of students qualifying for free breakfast and lunch. The population is 60% Latino, 30% White, and roughly 5% Asian and African American student population. Finally, the district reports that they have a higher-than-average number of gifted students, especially for an incredibly remote school system.
Over time, CESD hopes to improve timeliness of bus arrivals, reduce waiting time at the bus stop for students, the safety of students in transport and to begin addressing the reach of their current transportation system. By implementing multiple transit strategies targeting existing barriers, CESD’s goal is to see an increase in regular student attendance.