Located just northeast of downtown Kansas City, Liberty Public Schools meets the unique needs of more than 12,500 students. From academics to athletics and gifted to special education, their teachers and administrators collaborate with families to ensure a future-focused community with a passion for lifelong learning.
Liberty Public Schools was just weeks away from the beginning of the school year when they discovered that they had a driver shortage in their student transportation program. Of particular concern was finding drivers and aides for the district’s severe needs students who needed to be transported to schools outside the district and located all over the greater Kansas City area.
ALC Schools’ Model for Alternative Transportation Needs
ALC Schools supplements districts’ transportation programs using a combination of SUVs, minivans, wheelchair accessible vans, and sedans to assist in transporting McKinney-Vento, ESSA, ESE/special needs, and out-of-district students, as well as hard-to-serve and multi-district trips. Supplementing bus service with small capacity vehicles means that districts no longer pay for unused capacity and have the flexibility to expand and contract their fleet to accommodate the ever-changing demands of these student populations. ALC accomplishes all this while reducing the cost of transportation programs by 20-30%.
“We first heard about ALC Schools about five or six years prior to this,” said Laura Preston, Assistant Director of Transportation, Liberty Public Schools. “Someone from their organization had stopped by and left a folder describing their services. Fortunately, I kept it and called them as soon as we realized we needed more drivers. They happened to have a representative in Kansas City at the time and he came over that afternoon.
“Because ALC Schools is part of a national procurement contract, we didn’t have to publish an RFP and ALC Schools was able to go right to work to help us solve our driver shortage.” Within two weeks, Liberty Public Schools was up and running with ALC Schools. “It was phenomenal, and they have been amazing,” said Preston. “They assigned drivers and aides to all of our severe needs students, and then they went with the driver and aide to each of the students’ homes and introduced them to the families prior to their first day of school. Some of the parents were a little iffy about the change, but after experiencing the quality of service afforded by ALC Schools, I am confident they will not let us go back to transporting their students using a school bus.”
Now that ALC Schools has been transporting Liberty Public Schools’ severe needs students, the district has been able to refocus its bus drivers back onto routes within the district, alleviating strain on its resources. Preston said, “ALC Schools is so customer service oriented. I can tell you that up until they came on board, it was our out-of-district students’ parents who were blowing up our phones. There were a lot of complaints and demands. However, now that we have ALC Schools, the phones have stopped ringing. They handle everything – from student incidents to parent concerns – and then we get a report on either the same day or within 24-hours.” “ALC Schools’ documentation is incredibly helpful with our IEP team,” added Preston. “I can tell that they care about our kids as much as we do, and it’s especially nice that the same drivers and aides have stayed with almost all of our kids since they began working with us. This is helpful for our kids.” Liberty Public Schools has noticed other benefits as well. “Their billing is very detailed and accurate,” said Preston. “We get all the information we need to submit for funding.”