The Houston Independent School District’s Transportation Department brought home two awards from the annual statewide Mechanics Rodeo, which was held by the Texas Association of School Bus Technicians (TASBT) from July 30-Aug. 2.
School districts from around the state sent their top mechanics to the event in San Marcos, which included competitions in mechanical troubleshooting and school bus inspections. School buses are “bugged” with problems during the competition, and each section of the competition is scored for accuracy and timing.
This year, HISD’s Transportation Department sent four mechanics to the event and had team members place in each section of the competition. Willie Knox placed in the mechanical division, and Merced Pineda placed in the school bus inspection division. HISD technicians have competed in the TASBT state competition since 2009, placing almost every year in the troubleshooting and bus inspection categories.
“It is an honor to work side by side with such an incredible group,” said HISD Transportation General Manager Nathan Graf. “I’m very grateful for the services they provide to the children and district every day.”
This year, the transportation fleet was also named in the top 100 government fleets for a fourth year and as one of the 50 leading fleets in the nation, as ranked by Governing magazine. HISD was the only school district to make the two lists.
HISD operates and maintains 1,060 school buses. The fleet transports 29,000 students daily and travels more than 15 million miles a year. The district also has a large non-school-bus fleet comprised of gas, diesel and hybrid vehicles that travel more than 8 million miles annually. The district uses about 2.1 million gallons of biodiesel, 600,000 gallons of gasoline and 400,000 gallons of propane each year.