• 86°

PAISD transportation department prepping for new school year

Last school year bus drivers with Port Arthur Independent School District traveled more than 265,000 miles transporting almost 500 students.

The mileage includes 442 stops in two shifts, morning and afternoon.

There were also 215 field trips with just 19 drivers.

And this was during COVID-19.

Corey Metts, the district’s new transportation director, is expecting increased ridership and anticipating full buses.

One issue most local school districts are facing is a need for bus drivers.

Metts said in the near three years he has been with PAISD, the department has been under staffed. The district has 60 buses and a full staff of drivers is 35.

“We will be at 27, though some of those have not completed the hiring process,” Metts said of nine of those drivers.

Metts expects to know the full student enrollment soon and who requests transportation.

PAISD Transportation Director Corey Metts provides a report during a recent school board meeting. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Transportation director

Metts is a Nederland native who was self employed for 15 years before working for three years in the Nederland Independent School District transportation department.

He then worked for 2 ½ years as assistant transportation director at PAISD before accepting the director’s job.

One of the first things Metts did when he took on the role of transportation director was to work on a mission statement.

“The mission of Port Arthur ISD transpiration department is to provide safe, timely service

that supports the educational and extracurricular objectives of the Port Arthur ISD,” he told school board trustees this month.

He’s hoping having the goals in print serve as a daily reminder to all transportation department employees of why they do.

Superintendent Mark Porterie said it will be exciting to see the students boarding the buses for their first day of school.

“Employees in our transportation department are some of the first faces that our students see in the morning,” Porterie said. “Employees in the transportation department set the tone for the entire day for many of our children.”

The first day of classes for PAISD is Aug. 11.

Updates to buses

The fleet of 60 buses will soon be outfitted with wifi, which gives students the opportunity to work on classwork while en route to and from school.

Trustees also recently approved the purchase of cameras for older buses.

The cameras are from Pro-Vision Inc. for a cost of $119,474.88.

The upgrades will allow real-time monitoring of the buses.

Metts said he hopes the upgrades are completed by the first day of school.