Page 1

Volume 38 Issue 1 • January 2008

MSBOA Loses Close Friend, Ed Larson Ed. Note: On December 14, 2007, the MSBOA lost a dear friend. Ed Larson was an extremely active member of the MSBOA during his lifetime serving on the board of directors for 8 terms (24 years) and as MSBOA president for six years. He also served on the NSTA Board of Directors. His bus company, Larson Bus Service, Inc. has the distinction of one of the oldest private school bus companies in Minnesota started in 1927 by his father. His insightfulness and kind, generous spirit will be missed by many. One of my favorite stories about Ed is when Ed and I along with the MSBOA Executive Director, were sent to fire our then eighty-some year old MSBOA newspaper editor. We had had some problems with his editorials. Ed and I thought we could do the job, even though it wouldn’t be easy. We practiced By Jim Johansen what we would say. Ed, in his controlled voice, was the one who informed him he was fired. When it got really tough was I was flattered when I was asked to write about our friend, Ed when the editor started crying, and before you knew it, all Larson. I’ve known Ed for over 35 years. He was my mentor three of us, (Ed, the director, and I) were either crying or pretand my best friend. ty teary-eyed. None of us had ever fired anyone remotely close to an eighty-some year old. We finally composed ourEd was involved in several different businesses over the selves, got the editor to calm down and accept the firing. We years, but school buses were his favorite. Ed’s father, Ed Larhad done the job - we thought - until the MSBOA Executive son Sr., started transporting children in the Sauk Rapids Director said, “Let’s give him another chance.” Ed and I could School District in 1925. The “fleet” then consisted of two have killed him on the spot! We said never again would we horse drawn vehicles and two motor coaches. This was the fire an eighty-some year old! “You do it!” beginning of Larson Bus Service. The horse drawn vehicles

Tribute to Ed Larson

were used into the 1930s, but by 1950 the fleet had increased to four buses. In 1953, Ed joined his father in the business until his father passed away in 1966. Ed and Arlys then purchased and ran the company for over 30 years until selling it to Laidlaw Transit in 1997. Ed Larson has had an incredible presence in the school bus industry locally, statewide and nationally. He served as MSBOA President and many years as a director. He was on the NSTA Board of Directors and is known across the nation for his insightful dedication to our industry. He was nationally recognized by NSTA with both the “Golden Merit Award” and in 1999 with the “Hall of Fame Award”. He was honored in Minnesota in 1991 with the MSBOA Outstanding Service Award. Among Ed’s many accomplishments, he helped design the 8 Light System from it’s inception, to what we have today. He was instrumental in securing side exhaust systems, was a founding member of our own insurance company, “ISBORG”, and helped revamp the School Bus Inspection Manual plus many other projects from bus stops to bus maintenance.

I will miss Ed. All of us will miss Ed. We are all so fortunate to have known him. I think Lyle Hicks hit it right on with the following: “...my fond recollections of Ed are always warm, like thinking of a favorite uncle - kind as could be, but with a naughty side too! He had a knack for fitting in with everyone. It didn’t matter if he was sitting with a group of drivers and mechanics or the chairman of a national company. Ed was always comfortable, and made those he was with comfortable as well...he loved to sit and talk with friends (whether they were old friends or someone he just met) over a cocktail. He’d chat about industry goings-on, but he really liked to talk about personal stuff family, friends, etc. I rarely if ever remember him uttering a harsh word about other people. It seemed that he always had a devilish grin on his face, and was about to start laughing. Thinking back, I’ll bet he was one of those guys who could call you into his office and chew you a new one, and have you laughing by the time you walked out.” We’ll miss Ed, but it’s nice to think maybe he’s up there in the great beyond - fishing rod in hand - surrounded by old friends.

LOOK INSIDE FOR WINTER CONFERENCE REGISTRATION MATERIALS


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Tom Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302.

Are we missing something? As I was reading the obituary of long time friend and MSBOA member Ed "Teener" Larson I couldn't help but think about how he was described and what he valued. I have included an exerpt of his obituary. “Teener has had an incredible presence in the school bus industry locally, state wide, and nationally. He served several terms as president of the MSBOA and many years as a director. He has served on the NSTA Board of Directors and is known across the nation for his insightful dedication to the industry.” The question that keeps on popping in my head is: Do we have the same commitment and dedication as our forefathers or are we more concerned about the best for ourselves? How many of us are willing to do what is best for the industry? It seems that when push comes to shove we sit back and wait to see what happens. Many of the previous generation would jump in with both feet and do what was best for the many. Our industry seems be a reflection of what our society has become. As we continue to lose our mentors, I think we still have much we can learn from them. Just some of my thoughts for the upcoming year. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a prosperous New Year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN

Sincerely

VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Thomas Hey President

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

Holiday Greetings to all the MSBOA members and magazine readers! I am sure we all have made New Year resolutions that might last. I resolve health and safety to you and your company staffs. As we enter a new year and a new legislative session (February 12), school bus safety continues to be a big issue. On December 10 the Senate Education Subcommittee on Student Transportation held its second meeting. The subcommittee, co-chaired by Senator Rick Olseen (D-Harris) and Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie), held its first meeting in October. The Committee heard gut-wrenching testimony from Karen and William Berglund as they related the experience of losing their 14-year-old daughter Amanda Berglund in a school van accident. Amanda of Scandia was a Forest Lake school district student riding home last May from a St. Paul school for hearing-impaired students. The van she was riding in was owned and operated by Twin City Transportation. The van rear ended a regular routed school bus stopped for a drop off at a high speed. No one is the school bus was injured. The crash also killed driver Scott Wendt, age 30. It was later determined that Wendt had been smoking marijuana before the accident, had the drug and a paraphernalia in the van, and had a record of five speeding tickets in the last 10 years. Michael Weidner, an attorney for Twin Cities Transportation, told the committee that the company did not routinely test its Type III (van) drivers. He declined to comment if Wendt had ever been tested for drugs or alcohol usage. Weidner indicated that the company has added pre-employment and random drug testing for Type III drivers since the Berglund accident. Captain Ken Urquhart of the Minnesota State Patrol told the committee that under current law the only requirement for school van driver is that they have a valid driver's license. In Minnesota about 2,400 minivans and passenger vehicles carry special education and other students every year. He noted that the vehicles are inspected annually-just like a yellow school bus-but the drivers of Type III vehicles need only to have a valid drivers license to drive the vehicle. They need not be tested for drug and alcohol use and do not need a school bus endorsement. Type III vehicles can transport up to nine students at a time and are generally driven by teachers, coaches or other school employees. Some contracted service providers and school district owned fleets use vans for student transport as well. Lyle Hicks of Hicks Bus Lines of Litchfield testified for the MSBOA. He encouraged the committee to pass legislation

that extends full drug and alcohol testing to all drivers of all student transportation vehicles, including Type III and Type II-A (multi function school activity buses). The committee was also presented with a letter from Fred Lenz of St. James Bus Service that summarized his thoughts about licensing of drivers of Type III vehicles and school charged fees for busing. The committee spent the last part of the hearing talking about the present and past use of student transportation fees to supplement state student transportation funding. It appears that more and more legislators are hearing from their school district representatives regarding inadequate funding of student transportation services, the 2-mile versus the 1-mile rule, and the ever increasing use of fees to make ends meet. Lyle Hicks commented on the 1995 end of categorical state funding for public school student transportation and the need to return to an updated modernized category just for student transportation. The MSBOA is currently putting together a position paper that addresses both school bus driver qualifications and student transportation funding. The board is expected to discuss and sign off on our official positions at the January board meeting in Mankato.

Black Financial SERVICES, INC.

The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, is interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that you believe the MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-2939295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee December 19, 2007 South Washington County Schools- Cottage Grove Introductions were made. Sherry Case welcomed everyone to Holy Angels. Sherry has worked here since July. MDE - Bob Fischer The Special Education Driver and Assistant ward applications will be on the Department web site soon. It will also be on the MAPT and MSBOA sites. Deadline will be March 14. DVS - Deb Carlson was not in attendance but sent the following information: Jim Connolly's former job should be appointed by the end of the year. License issuing is taking about 14 days now. This is down from 24 days.

TTT- Ray Kroll Dates are July 15-18 2008 in Hinckley. The next committee meeting will be on January 25th at Perkins in Roseville at 11:30 AM. Ideas will be drafted by the joint conference in January. Ray came across a guidebook from Michigan about transportion policies/procedures/guidelines and any other information regarding information for new bus drivers. Cathy Roose is working on putting together information from Minnesota. A few others volunteered to work an a committee to compile/review and revise this information for managers. Rodeo - Sherry Case If we want to do the Road-eo at Roseville again we would need to change the date to June 7. The past two years it has been the day after the all-night party which is May 30.

DPS - Ken Urquhart Ken and Dan Drexler will be making a presentation at the upcoming MN School Boards Conference on Jan. 17. It will be on the use of school buses including Type III.

If anyone wants to be on the committee let Sherry Case know. They are also considering doing a student bus evacuation in place of the back up. More to follow.

Senate School Bus safety hearings will be starting soon. They are looking at qualifications for drivers of Type 3 vehicles. The report on the audit that the Department just went through should be released by the end of January.

MAPT - Ray Kroll The joint conference with MSBOA will be held Jan. 11-12 in Mankato. Information is on the MAPT/MSBOA web sites The Board meeting will be held on Jan. 10 at 3:00 PM.

Ken told about a surprise inspection he did at a charter school where 12 of their 13 buses were deadline for repairs.

The State will be dividing into five regions. The new region will be in the north west. Regional meetings will take place so more areas of the State can meet.

Ken announced that his office moved a few months ago and would host the May meeting. Ken discussed the proposed Legislation (383.31 and 38333) regarding CDL drivers reporting all convictions except parking, in writing to their employer. Currently this is not State law but Federal so can't be enforced by Ken. Discussion on Type 3 vehicles and driver regulations. There are no drug/alcohol regulations for these drivers currently. Ken was asked a question about a driver that is having trouble getting clear fingerprints done for his background check. It was suggested that maybe the driver go to the BCA and have them done there. Discussion on the bus crash yesterday where the bus slid and tipped over. No injuries were reported. It was traveling to a charter school. There was a question about the use of seat belt extensions for school bus drivers. Is this legal and what kind of specifications do they need to meet. Emily said she would e-mail Duane for an answer.

Ray would like to do a presentation to the joint boards to ask for funding to put the 'Stop and Stay Stopped 'on DVD to be used by all driver education instructors in the State.

Continued on page 5.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


5

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-253-3000 or 800-777-4896.

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minutes Continued from page 4. NHTSA has a proposal to increase seat backs by 4 inches and require all new buses to have lap/shoulder belts. The comment period may still be open on this. The question that came up with us is will this prevent injuries? Bob Fischer noted that the new MN School Safety Center will be having a conference in February. Further information below.

SAVE THE DATE! MINNESOTA SCHOOL SAFETY CONFERENCE February 20-21, 2008 • Hennepin Technical College • Brooklyn Park, MN Keynotes: • Bill Modzeleski, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, US Department of Education • Georgeann Rooney (invited), US Secret Service speaking on the "School Shootings Bystander Study" • Minnesota Student Survey Trends Report Plus: • Threat Assessment in Schools (day-long training) • Workshops on cyber bullying, marketing school safety, planning for effective drills, suicide clusters, data privacy, school safety "tools" developed by Minnesota school districts, school liaison officer session, Project SERV grants, student assistance teams, National Incident Management System, and many more!


6

Sunny Days on Leech Lake A Tribute to Ed Larson by “The Millner Girls”, and MSBOA Executive Administrators, Shelly Jonas and Shari Danzeisen Recently Ed Larson passed away. Many industry people are talking about losing a great innovator in school bus safety and a legendary member of the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association. Our recollection of this man is quite a different, more personal one. First of all, we never knew him as “Ed” but as “Teener”. Teener and Arlys and our parents (Roger and Karen Millner), were business partners from 1973-1984. At this time we were too young to know anything about the school bus business or how well respected Teener was within the school bus industry. But we certainly recall him and our dad talking quietly in the evenings about the happenings over the previous days and weeks so we definitely knew how dedicated he was to his business. We have many special memories of Teener and Arlys. Teener and Arlys were always very good to us, treating us like we were part of their family. Sometimes we would go to their home when our parents had to go out for an evening. Sometimes we even stayed overnight at their place sleeping in our sleeping bags on the floor in front of their fireplace. Teener had a great passion for fishing. For years, Teener and Arlys kept a 5th wheel trailer and boat on Leech Lake. Our family also had a trailer and we would go to Leech Lake to spend time with them. Our dad, Teener and us two little girls would go out on the boat fishing. We have such great memories of these times! We would find a place to fish and Teener and our dad would get our lines ready, and then we would have great contests to see who could catch the most fish and the biggest fish. When one of us would catch a fish that was kind of small, we would look to Teener who would decide if we were going to keep the fish or throw it back (especially if our dad already told us to throw it back). Sometimes he would throw it back, but we would delight in his famous saying, “Well, I think that’ll make the pan stink!” In the evenings, we would watch the Alexandria news fishing report. They had photos of kids holding up their big catches. We were fairly skeptical if those fish were actually caught by the kids holding them. But still, we liked to watch and imagine that one day we might be on TV too. One night we were fishing for walleyes. We usually preferred to fish for sunfish and perch because walleye fishing seemed boring since you often had to wait so long for a bite. In the midst of our boredom, Shari announced, “I’m going to catch a 5 pound walleye like the kid I saw on TV last night!” Teener said, “Shari, if you catch a 5 pound walleye, I’ll drive you to Alexandria myself.” Lo and behold, it was not Shari’s line but Shelly’s line that had a strike. It was a big battle for Shelly to get the fish up to the boat. It could have been weeds, but everyone urged her to keep reeling. Imagine our surprise when it was not a 5 pound walleye, but a 6 pound walleye! Alas, it got too late to drive to Alexandria by the time we got back to shore, but Teener made sure to take a picture and make an appropriate fuss over the fish. The story of Shelly’s six pound walleye was one that we reminisced over for many years. Looking back, Teener was a always a very patient and calm man when it came to our fishing trips. He never seemed ruffled by the shrieks of two little girls who got scared of wiggly worms, slimy leeches, and slippery minnows. He never got upset over the frequent mishaps while casting a line, getting fishing lines tangled up, or spilling pop and the goodies that our mom and Arlys packed for us all over his beautiful boat. Recently, while going through some old keepsakes from childhood, amid the yearbooks and track and field ribbons, there was a little note from Teener. He wrote, “Always remember the fishing champs!” We remember, Teener. We remember.

National Bus Sales Your #1 source of late-model, low-mileage buses! • Excellent Condition • Fully Serviced • Complete Detail • Warranty

CALL FOR YOUR QUOTE TODAY!

1.800.475.1439


7

News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

Wishes for the New Year Rudy Lundahl, Operations Manager at Voyageur Bus Company & Minnesota Coaches This is a great time of the year for making wishes and New Years Resolutions. Sometimes they really do come true. With that in mind and looking forward to the New Year here are a few wishes from the heart and soul of a bus guy. I wish the war in Iraq would get over with or just go away. End of discussion. I wish the 2-way radios worked better........ 10-9?..........what did you say? I wish calendar parkers would fall into a bottomless pit and never get out. I wish the buses were nice and clean every day. Every day. EVERY DAY! I wish little Suzy would just get along with little Johnny. I wish little Johnny would just get along with little Suzy. (I'm starting to detect a pattern here.....) I wish I was as funny as Josh (My A.M. lead dispatcher) where does he get his material? I wish we never had to call 911 for anything. I'm glad I did not get a Hippopotamus for Christmas. I wish politicians could only speak the truth. Remember that Jim Carrey movie “Liar Liar�. Imagine your favorite politician in that role! That would be rich. I wish the winter weather would only happen on the weekends and during the week only between 11:00 P.M. and 1:00 A.M. Is that too much to ask? I wish signs saying "no parking" and "buses only" were readable to the normal human being. Obviously this is not the case. But after many wishes like these it's back to reality. I hope everyone and their families and friends have had a great holiday season. Be good to your special part of the world and remember............. It's not the years of your life that count, it's the living you have done in those years.

Let's hope the New Year brings us all the tools we need to accomplish our jobs safely!


8

Joe Beaton Scholarship The 2008 Joe Beaton Scholarship Application is included in this issue of The Operator. Applications will be taken through April 15, 2008. The scholarship awards a worthy student $1000.00. This will be the seventh award given since the scholarship began. The scholarship was arranged in honor of our past lobbyist and attorney, Joe Beaton. He was a close friend of our association and was very instrumental in getting many of the school bus safety and private school bus contractor legislation passed that we are familiar with today. Joe passed away in 2001. If you have a driver that has a child graduating, a driver that is currently going college, or you have a child yourself that would benefit from this scholarship, give them the application...today!

MEDTOX Price Increase Ed. Note: If you are using MEDTOX as your drug testing laboratory, please be advised of the price increase effective January 1, 2008. Member clients should have received this notice from MEDTOX by mail: “MEDTOX is committed to providing you the very best value in employment drug testing, toxicology reference laboratory services and clinical trials services. We continue to drive improvements in quality, technology and services seeking to deliver the very best in service at a competitive price. In 2007 we were able to hold current pricing in place. However, due to vendor price increases and increased regulatory fees we will be instituting a 5% price increase effective January 1, 2008. The adjustment will allow MEDTOX to continue to bring our clients the service, responsiveness and technological advancements you have come to expect from our company. We appreciate your business. MEDTOX Laboratories�

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


9 MSBOA Loses Member, Marvin Hoffenkamp It is with deepest sympathy that we share the news that Marvin Hoffenkamp, Hoffenkamp Bus in Adrian, Minnesota has passed away. Marvin died Saturday, December 15, 2007, at the Arnold Memorial Health Care Center, in Adrian. Marvin was born March 1, 1938, in Magnolia, to Wubbo Jr. and Emma Hartog. Marv moved to Rushmore at the age of ten and was adopted by Gezinnes and Mable (Winterrand) Hoffenkamp. He attended school in Adrian and Rushmore. Marv married Nancy Bickett in 1962. After their marriage, the couple lived in Adrian. Marv owned & operated Hoffenkamp Bus Service, in Adrian, since 1982. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church, in Worthington; a charter member of the Adrian Jaycees where he had served as Treasurer & Youth Advisor. He had also served on several boards of the United Methodist Church. Marv enjoyed his buses, his dogs, Christmas lights & especially his daughters & grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Hoffenkamp, Adrian; three daughters, Ruth & Randy Gunnink, Brandon, SD; Ceta & Mark Zebe, Adrian; and Dolly & Richard Bruns. Dolly currently runs Hoffenkamp Bus Service. Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers. The following excerpt appeared in the Noble County Register on December 5th:

Bright Lights, Happy Hearts By Meredith Stanton Vaselaar The Hoffenkamp residence was quite famous in Adrian for its annual Christmas display. The house had been known as The Christmas House, the Light House, Santa’s Place, or, simply, “that place on the hill.” For as long as Marv and Nan (nee Bickett) Hoffenkamp lived in the house on the hill, there has been a celebration of the Christmas Season that is all about Christmas Spirit. Each year he added something new and eventually the decorating “spilled over” to include the Hoffenkamp Bus Company where a huge lighted outline of a bus adorned the north side, and could be seen from the Interstate. Since its acquisition, the Nativity set has always had a place of honor, set apart and beautifully displayed, reminding all why the season is celebrated. Family and faith in God were the two most important things to Marv. Marv and Nan were foster parents to many children in need of shelter, safety, but most importantly, love. They welcomed the foster children as warmly as if they had been their own. Marv’s Christmas display was one way Marv tried to give back to children who didn’t always have such a bright Christmas. One of Marv’s daughters was approached asking if she was going to put up the lights this year. The dark house was a reminder that Marv had been hospitalized with inoperable cancer. It was to be a very special Christmas for Marv and his family – one of joy, one of poignancy. His final wish, he confided to his family, was to see his house lit up this Christmas, as beautiful and bright as it had ever been. Nan and the girls put out an APB to all of their friends and family – Project “Decorate the House” was on! They asked that anyone who was able, to come to the house on Saturday morning, December 1, to help put up the Hoffenkamp Christmas display. Everything was set – unfortunately, Mother Nature had some thoughts of her own. The first storm of the season hit with a vengeance. The family worried whether or not there would there be anyone to help. The day dawned, snowy, icy, cold, wet. The Christmas Spirit was never stronger, though, as fifteen people, traveling from Sioux Falls, Lismore, Rushmore, Adrian and in between gathered at the house and worked as if it had been a calm summer day. A “little bit of snow” was not going to stop them! Up went the Nativity scene, the star, Santa, and all. The house was adorned in a way that made Marv proud. While the display was being put into place, Nan was recording the event so Marv could see all it entailed later, from his hospital bed. Adults and older kids outside, children running around inside, this time it was a day all about Marv, for a man who had always tried to brighten the lives of children.


10 Cummins and Blue Bird Honored as Industry Leaders IndustryWeek has named Blue Bird’s North Georgia Body Company plant among its Top 10 winners in the magazine’s Best Plants in North America 2007 competition. The Blue Bird Corporation plant was selected from manufacturing facilities across North America in recognition for dedication to continuous improvement and outstanding performance in safety, quality and productivity. Diesel Progress magazine named Cummins Inc. the 11th annual "Newsmaker of the Year" in part for its compliance with the EPA’s 2010 heavy-duty engine regulations. Cummins announced the technology for both medium- and heavy-duty diesel engines in September that will reduce oxides of nitrogen without any NOx aftertreatment. The company’s heavy-duty solution entails an XPI High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel system, next-generation cooled Exhaust Gas Regeneration (EGR), advanced engine controls and its proprietary particulate filter. For medium-range engines, Cummins will use SCR technology that draws on urea and a catalytic converter to reduce NOx. "Everything Cummins did this year — from the early launch of the Dodge Ram Turbo Diesel and its innovative NOx absorber to the announcement of a non-SCR solution for 2010 heavy-duty trucks to the recent unveiling of the Tier 4 off-highway strategy — dominated the industry news in 2007," said Mike Osenga, publisher of Diesel Progress.

Thomas Plant to be Featured on “Made In America” HIGH POINT, N.C. (Dec. 11, 2007) — John Ratzenberger made a stop at Thomas Built Buses' Saf-T-Liner C2 plant during a taping of his show "Made in America" last week. The actor, best known for playing know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin on the sitcom "Cheers," said he chose to profile Thomas Built Buses because of the school bus’ status as an American icon. John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, said he was grateful for the opportunity to show off the Thomas plant and its dedicated employees. "Each year they visit many plants of all types around the country to focus on American manufacturing," O’Leary said. "I was told that of the 250 to 300 plants his crew had visited over the years, Thomas’ Saf-T-Liner C2 plant was one of the best organized and cleanest they had ever seen." A final air date for the episode has not been set, but producers said they expect the show to air in April or May of 2008.

EMPLOYMENT NOTES FOR BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT CLIENTS New Form I-9 Mandatory Beginning December 26, 2007 Employers may begin using the new Form I-9 (dated June 5, 2007) immediately and are required to begin using it no later than December 26, 2007. Employers not using the new form by that date will be at risk for fines and penalties. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 requires employers to use Form I-9 to verify the identity and work eligibility of all new employees at the time they are hired. I-9 forms are to be maintained by the employer (hard-copy or electronic) for three years after the employee’s date of hire or for a year after the date the employment is terminated, whichever is later. One document, Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766), has been added to List A on the new form and five documents, Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561), Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570); Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-327); and Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571), have been removed from List A on the new form. The new form is available at www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-9.pdf Employment Notes is a general discussion of legal issues and is not intended to be legal advice. Readers should seek the advice of competent legal counsel to review the specific facts and law regarding any given legal matter.

© Sharon Hobbs, Rinke-Noonan, 2007


11

School Bus Drivers:

They are True Superhumans

Author Unknown What’s a school bus driver? Somewhere between the frailty of human nature and the perfection of God’s angels there is a superhuman being known as the school bus driver. School bus drivers are found on the roads and highways everywhere. They come in assorted sizes, weights, colors and may be either men or women. But each, as they pull their mammoth three ring circus down the highway, has the same creed - - to get your children to and from school in complete safety. No one else has the patience of the job, the humor of a comedian, the philosophy of Will Rogers and the tolerance of an Abe Lincoln. A school bus driver wipes more noses, finds more mittens, overshoes, caps, sweaters, and school books than anybody. He/She listens to more tales of woe than a Preacher, lends more money than a finance company and guides more romances than cupid. The school bus driver combines the caution of a rabbit with the care of a mother cat for her kittens. He/She shows more firmness than any army sergeant and often more affection towards “His/Her kids” than a mother or father. Mother and Dad, you can ignore them, you can take them for granted, but you can’t keep them out of your kid’s heart. I don’t know where the school bus driver goes when he/she dies, but I’ll bet you wherever it is, they won’t be content to float on a cloud.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

No, instead they will be toting the little angels from star to star in God’s Heaven. He will be fixing the harp strings, soothing bruised wings, and lending a helping hand always.

BUS CO., INC.

Ed. Note: It is the time of the year again when we think about the people that fill our buses drivers’ seats. A 2008 Transportation Specialist Application is inside this newsletter. If your driver is selected as a Transportation Specialist this year, they will be honored at the upcoming MSBOA 60th Anniversary celebration in June. You will also be given a check for $1000.00 to give to your school as a scholarship. Having seen firsthand what kind of impact this award has on a driver and their business is amazing. Most of the time employers report that all the fellow drivers strive for excellence as well, and the driver that won the award has a new found desire to take on even more challenging roles at work. Not to mention the outstanding press your company receives for having one of the six best drivers in the state! If you have never nominated one of your drivers and don’t know how to get started, give the MSBOA Office a call at 320-274-8313. We can explain how to put together a nomination packet. It is an easy process, just fill out the application and select a few people to write a letter of recommendation for your nominee. The letter can be from a teacher, coach, community member, parent, student, co-worker, church or civic organization member...etc. Don’t wait - get your application in right away!

HOGLUND

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events 2008 MSBOA/MAPT Joint Annual Conference January 11-12, 2008 Midwest Wireless Center Mankato, MN 2008 MSBOA Annual Summer Conference 60th Anniversary Celebration June 8-10, 2008 Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Sunny Days on Leech Lake: Tribute to Ed Larson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

NOT registered for the 30th Annual MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference YET? Registration materials are inside or you can find them on the web at www.msboa.com


Volume 38 Issue 2 • February 2008

Winter Conference Highlights By Karen Millner, M&M Bus Service, Inc. Annandale, MN

The 30th Annual MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference was held on January 10-12, 2008 at the Alltel Wireless Center in Mankato. The MSBOA and MAPT Board of Directors met with their respective members. The boards jointly agreed that the time has come to update the entire Driver Development Seriies. Although much of the content is still useful, the vehicle features are out of date and in need of revision. The DDS is currently on VHS and the proposed media would be on DVD. Seat Belt Implementation was presented by Matt Sanchez. Sanchez works for the California Department of Transportation. He began his career as a bus driver and is a staunch supporter of school bus safety. He discussed how seatbelts became mandated and implemented in California. Even though students are 8 times safer in a school bus than a passenger car without seatbelts, the mindset of the public remains that if a student is safer in a car with a seatbelt then it must be safer in a school bus too. A panel consisting of MAPT and MSBOA members representing both large and small school districts discussed how their schools handle issues common to all districts. Multi-drop locations, bus passes, and split custody transportation issues were all discussed. They also fielded questions from the audience asking about specific issues they face. It was clear to all that every district has similar problems and concerns. An excellent keynote address by Charlie Kyte, a former school superintendent, and executive director of the MN Association

of School Administrators gave our group an informative presentation regarding the disparity between the revenue school districts receive from the State of MN and what they actually need. This disparity continuines to be spreading farther and farther apart requiring more districts to seek levy referendums just for day-to-day operations. He explained that the current system for funding schools is broken and to watch for new ideas to come out of this legislative session. One possibility might be an expansion of sales tax. Capt. Ken Urquhart, Paul Davis, and Duane Bartels spoke about the fatal accident involving a Type III vehicle last spring. Capt. Urquhart assured the group that new Type III driver qualifications will be forthcoming. After the MSBOA/MAPT general business meetings in the afternoon, a very successful trade show and casino night was enjoyed by all attendees. The first presentation of the day illuminated the upcoming EPA mandates for diesel emissions by 2010. The transportation industry, including school buses, will be impacted by these mandates. Many of the fears members had were dimished slightly by the great presentation by David Tschida of Cummins and Greg Ross of Ziegler. They shared information on how these same standards have been handled in European countries. Both men shared valuable knowledge with attendees. Project Green Fleets’ Bill Drosseler, described how school bus fleets can become environmentally friendly. Currently there are district fleets and contractors who are changing their carburetor systems to lower the emissions these units put out.

INSIDE: TRANSPORTATION SPECIALIST APP., JOE BEATON SCHOLARSHIP APP...


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Tom Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302.

WE are never too old to learn! Wow!! That's the only way I can describe the winter conference. It always amazes me that we continue to produce the quality of the seminars and continue to find the specialist that we have in our industry. For those who missed the conference, you missed a great opportunity for you to enhance your business. In this ever-changing playing field, I feel it is extremely important that we continue to educate our self. With that having been said: What are my takes on the conference? I believe sometime within my busing career I will see seat belt in big buses in Minnesota. You and I know all the statistic and testing but I don't think the public opinion will change. It hasn't in the last 20 years of testing. Maybe it is time the State FULLY FUND the project and let's move on. We are already going to have the higher seats. I believe the round table is also a great idea. My dad used to tell me you would learn as much outside the meeting rooms as you do in - for the most part he is right. With the experience and the knowledge of our industry, we have much to learn fro our colleagues. But what we have done is bring the networking and ideas into the meeting setting. It appears that Mr. Dibble continues his work and as always we are ready. When we need some help, please be ready to give it. Remember this has the potential to greatly impact your business. You will have to decide how important that is to you. Truly this was a great conference and I just touched on a couple of things. I would like to thank the staff/boards for all the great work. I have heard nothing but positives from Mankato. WAY TO GO!! Look ahead for the 60th Celebration. It promises to be a good time!!

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Sincerely , Thomas Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

It was great to see so many members and friends in Mankato in early January at the 30th Annual MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference! It was an excellent conference, great hotel and good food. As I write this article the new legislative session, which begins on February 12, is right around the corner. The Governor has submitted his bonding proposal. The talk about the slow economy continues. And the hard ball talk over the I35 bridge collapse and transportation funding continues to heat up! The issue of school bus safety continues, as well. Triggered by the May 2007 Forest Lake Type III van crash that killed both the 14-year old student and the van driver, the Minnesota Senate has held two hearings on the accident and issues surrounding Type III vehicles and is drafting a bill to tighten the rules pertaining to the drivers of these vans, as well as possible changes to the van itself in terms of appearance and application. Captain Ken Urquhart of the Minnesota State Patrol testified at both committee meetings, as well as spoke to the joint conference in Mankato. He said that in Minnesota about 2,400 minivans and passenger vehicles carry special education and other students every year. He noted that the vehicles are inspected annually-just like a yellow school bus-but the drivers of Type III vehicles need only to have a valid drivers license to drive the vehicle. They need not be tested for drug and alcohol use and do not need a school bus endorsement. Type III vehicles can transport up to nine students at a time and are generally driven by teachers, coaches or other school employees. Some contracted service providers and school district owned fleets use vans for student transport as well. The MSBOA board discussed and approved a position paper at its January 10, 2008 meeting pertaining to Type III vans and school bus transportation funding. Written by Lyle Hicks of Hicks Bus Lines of Litchfield, the MSBOA official position is that type III van drivers should be subject to all the pre-employment testing and regular employee requirements that school bus drivers adhere to short of a CDL license. This position has been relayed to Senator Richard Olseen as input as he continues to draft his bill on this subject. We will be meeting with him and others in late January to discuss this issue further. You can find our position paper on the MSBOA homepage: www.msboa.com The committee spent part of the last hearing talking about the present and past use of student transportation fees to supplement state student transportation funding. A number of legislators are hearing from their school district representatives regarding inadequate funding of student transportation services, the 2-mile versus the 1-mile rule, and the ever increasing use of fees to make ends meet. In the MSBOA position paper, Lyle Hicks addressed the need to return to pre-1995 in terms of an updated modernized category and formula for student transportation funded and allocated separately from the general aid to schools formula. While we do not expect to see changes in student transportation funding this session, we will continue to encourage legislators and others to work for changes in the school aid formula in the 2009 budget session. We have also been advised of a newer version of the Senator Dibble/SEIU bill (SF1673). While it removes some of the language from last year's bill, it remains counterproductive and unnecessary. We will continue to talk to legislators regarding this bill encouraging them to speak, work and vote against it. There is a copy of the proposed bill in this issue of The Operator. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, is interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that you believe the MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com.

Black Financial SERVICES, INC.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee held on January 16, 2008 in Minneapolis. Introductions were made. Frank Zeman welcomed everyone to Minneapolis. Information was passed out on the Minnesota School Safety Conference Feb 20-21 in Brooklyn Park. Because this conflicts with our next safety meeting we voted to change the date of our next meeting to Wednesday Feb. 27th. MDE - Bob Fischer was not in attendance but sent the following information: The Special Education Driver and Assistant ward applications are now on the Department web site. It is also be on the MAPT and MSBOA sites. Deadline is March 14.

Certified Trainers - Sherry Case Sherry passed out a draft letter that will be sent to all current certified trainers asking where they would like this program to go and what are their thoughts. Sherry will ask for input from these people. MAPT - Ray Kroll The joint conference with MSBOA was held Jan. 11-12 in Mankato. The State will be dividing into five regions for MAPT. The new region will be in the north west. Regional meetings will take place so more areas of the State can meet.

DVS - Deb Carlson was not in attendance but sent the following information:

Sgt Davis, Captain Urquhart and Duane Bartels did a power point presentation at the conference on the differences in school buses, who can drive them and other information. It was a very good presentation and will be repeated at the School Boards Association meeting.

Deb has been officially appointed as Jim's replacement. Congratulations Deb. License issuing is taking about 11 days now.

Another presentation that was excellent was on lap and shoulder belts in school buses presented by Matthew Sanchez from California.

TTT- Ray Kroll Dates are July 15-18 2008 in Hinckley.

Ray received a quote to put the 'Stop and Stay Stopped 'on DVD to be used by all driver education instructors in the State. He would like funding from MSBOA and MAPT.

The next committee meeting will be on January 25th at Perkins in Roseville at 11:30 AM. Room rates will be cheaper than in St. Cloud $64.90 plus 9.5% tax. June 23rd will be the deadline for the room rate. July 5 will be the deadline for registrations.

If anyone wants to be on the committee let Sherry Case know at runningfreenow@yahoo.com.

Cathy Roose from our committee is still working on putting together information for new drivers. This information is coming from many sources. Her goal is to put this in an easy to read format for new drivers. It would have all the needed information to take them from employment application through their first day driving.

Still considering doing a student bus evacuation in place of the back up. Discussion on pros and cons.

Continued on page 5.

Ray is working on getting presenters. Poster contest- Cindy McKay Cindy passed out the information for this years contest. Posters will be due by April 7. Information will also be on the MAPT and MSBOA websites soon. The theme is 'Avoid Harm Obey the Stop Arm'. Rodeo - Sherry Case If we want to do the Road-eo at Roseville again we would need to change the date to June 7. Sherry will look at some other possible sites next Monday to see if they will work if we choose to keep it on May 31. By changing dates would this affect the number of judges or drivers?

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


5

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-253-3000 or 800-777-4896.

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Continued from Page 4. Thanks Cathy for your continuing hard work. Discussion on veteran drivers and how beneficial 'You the Veteran Driver' would be for training. This is in Vol. 9 of the DDS tapes. The summer meeting will be at Craguns June 11-13. The fall meeting of MAPT will be during Education Minnesota in Oct. David Peterson spoke at the winter conference about Legislative proposals, one being to clean up the language for the multi-function school buses. New Business: There was a discussion about a recent bus fire. There were no students on the bus so it wasn't in the media. It was a rear-engine bus and it burned out in minutes after the driver pulled over and stopped. Drivers should be trained to evacuate anytime they see or smell smoke. Others shared similar stories. Respectfully submitted, Emily White

ÂŽ

CAT C7 ACERT ENGINE

The Perfect Fit for School Buses Features advanced emissions technology that exceeds clean air goals without sacrificing engine performance and reliability.  Mid range, 190-300 hp  Up to 4% better fuel economy, based on new Cat common rail fuel system  Leading edge electronics  Best life-to-overhaul  Easy maintenance  Cat 5-year warranty for school bus operators  Extended service plans, up to 10 years Call Greg Ross for more information.

Shakopee, MN

952.887.4582 • 888.320.4292


6

MSBOA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING 1/10/08 • Mankato, MN The meeting was called to order at 5 p.m. by President Tom Hey. Mike Clark made a motion to approve the minutes from the October meeting. Chuck Peterson seconded. Motion carried. Doug Grisim asked if the minutes and Treasurer’s Report could be emailed a week in advance of the meetings. There was some discussion. It was decided that the minutes and treasurer’s report would be both emailed and copies would be brought to the meetings. Roger Millner presented the Treasurer’s Report. Peterson made a motion to approve the report. Grisim seconded it. Motion carried. Gaylen Lenz presented the Legislative Report. He discussed the two legislative subcommittee hearings that had occurred and distributed a Legislative statement that could provide senators and representatives where the MSBOA stands on the issues from the last Senate subcommittee hearing. Most of the discussion centered on the increased qualifications of the Type III driver. Lenz wanted a change on the statement paper so that a Type III driver would not have to get a CDL license, but still be subject to drug testing, background checks and training. There was some discussion about the perception of the public and how the MSBOA should put safety at the top priority. Lenz made a motion to approve the statement with the correction about the CDL license. Jim Koonst seconded. Motion carried. Tom Revnew re-introduced himself to the board. He has worked with the MSBOA on several unionization seminars and proposed to offer the membership an attorney hotline. Revnew has a background with the DOT and is well versed in drug and alcohol testing issues, labor and employment issues and general contract issues. Grisim made a motion to sign the agreement for $400/month. Lenz seconded. Motion carried. Hey stated that Greg Liedel from MAPT would be looking for volunteers on updating the Driver Development Series. The Membership committee discussed the contractor meetings that they have lined up. Hey wanted to see a suggested time table when the meetings might occur. The committee also wanted some handouts or a script of what to say on those meetings. The MSBOA timeline was listed as a possible resource for the contractor visits. A suggestion was also made to send a copy of the newsletter in advance of the visit. The Executive Committee presented its plans for the Summer Conference and 60th Anniversary celebration. Floyd Palmer requested to address the board regarding some legislative changes to MN Statute 123B.52. Palmer would like to see some added protection for the existing contractors who have real estate in the school district. The board discussed the potential of such legislation becoming a “Pandora’s Box”. Hey stated that the board would discuss the pros and cons and get back to Palmer. Peterson made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Lenz seconded. Meeting adjourned at 7:00PM.

National Bus Sales Your #1 source of late-model, low-mileage buses! • Excellent Condition • Fully Serviced • Complete Detail • Warranty

CALL FOR YOUR QUOTE TODAY!

1.800.475.1439


7

News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

A New Legislative Season... Gaylen Lenz, Legislative Committee Chair, Lake Crystal, MN Well it’s that time of year again. The legislative season will begin in less than a month and already there are bills being drafted targeting our industry. Some for the good, some not so good. I would like to write about a couple of them. The first one is about the qualifications of Type III vehicle drivers. Right now the only qualification a Type III vehicle driver needs is to have a regular drivers license. That is it, nothing else. Senator Rick Olseen is chairing a subcommittee that is exploring tougher restrictions for Type III vehicle drivers that is similar to a school bus driver. He will draft a bill to be introduced and he has asked for the MSBOA's help with ideas. The MSBOA board of directors has taken the following position and has forwarded it to Senator Olseen's office. We believe that a Type III vehicle driver should have to adhere to all of the requirments of a school bus driver which includes the following: a school bus background check, classroom and behind the wheel training, and pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing, except that the driver shall not be required to obtain a Commercial Drivers License for the operation of a Type III vehicle. We believe that this postion is not out of line and that it would be easy for our members to implement into their programs. Talking to some of you at the conferences, many of you have indicated that you are already doing exactly what is proposed. Remember one thing though, a Type III vehicle driver who does not possess a CDL must be put into a separate drug and alcohol testing pool by law. You cannot put them in with your CDL pool. This would be simple to set up with Medtox if that is who you are using. Another piece of legislation that is being proposed was written by the SEIU. It is a much pared down version of the bill that Senator Dibble introduced for them last year. It does not look like much of a proposal that would hurt us contractors at the moment but I believe that it needs to be stopped. The language that is contained in this proposal is nothing different than what local school districts can write into their bid specs and contracts. Lets keep the power of decision making at the school district level. They are the ones that know what is good for their district. I believe that the SEIU is bringing this pared down version to get their foot in the door. If this would get passed believe me they will be back in the future asking for more. We do not know who will sponsor this bill yet, but when we do we will let you know. We will need you to contact and talk to your local legislators and you might be asked by me to come and testify at the Capital if needed. Please be ready to act. Our industry and your future could be at stake. All of our voices need to be heard because we are the experts in this industry and we have a great safety record to prove it. Have a safe winter!

Nominate an employee for the 2008 Transportation Specialist Awards! Application forms are included in this issue of The Operator


8

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary 60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success 2008 marks a special year in our association’s history. The Minnesota School Bus Operator’s Association has been in existence since 1948 - 60 Years! This calls for a celebration of monumental proportions! The MSBOA Board of Directors is busy planning an exciting and enjoyable summer conference on June 8-10, 2008. The goal of our conference is to celebrate our legacy as a group and enjoy the comraderie with friends we have made in our industry. Another exciting detail of our celebration is that we will be holding our conference at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood, MN. It has been seven years since we have held our conference there, and they are anxious to have our group back as well. Does an “Evening of Friends and Wine” (wine tasting event) sound fun? Superior Transit Sales is graciously sponsoring this event. How about “S’more Fun Under the Stars”? North Central Bus Sales will be sponsoring an end-of-the-night, good, old-fashioned, bonfire party. We will be having an antique bus display featuring a newly restored 1948 school bus from Wayne Hoglund, Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. Kurt Schumann, MPLS First Student, will be providing a presentation on MN school bus industry and MSBOA history during our conference. We will be holding our Transportation Specialist Awards and MSBOA Safety Raffle on Sunday, June 8th. Usually the awards are held after the Monday night banquet, but to squeeze all of our events in, we needed to make this schedule change. Please get your Transportation Specialist Applications sent in as soon as possible. At the Monday night banquet, dust off that tux! This event will be “black tie, formal dress optional”. This is definitely an event to get dressed up for - 60 Years is a great accomplishment as an organization. The evening will be complete with a reception, dinner, special presentations, and dancing. There are many more exciting events being planned. Watch upcoming issues of The Operator for more information on our celebration.

Mark this event on your calendar now - you won’t want to miss this conference! Registration materials for the conference and Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge will be coming soon!!!! Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


9

MSBOA Retains New Legal Services As a valued member of Minnesota School Bus Operator's Association ("MSBOA"), we are pleased to announce that we are able to offer a Legal Hotline to you free of charge. During each six month period, you will be entitled to two free fifteen-minute telephone calls to the Hotline. Tom Revnew, an attorney with Seaton, Beck & Peters, P.A. will field telephone calls from you involving general contract, labor and employment law, and state and federal Department of Transportation issues. Tom's practice is limited to representing employers in general contract and labor and employment matters. He has advised companies in all areas of labor and employment law including employment counseling and litigation, as well as union organizing and unfair labor practice charges. Calls on the Labor and Employment Hotline are limited to 15 minutes or less. This service will not include research, review of documents, drafting, litigation, or charge or grievance handling or response. This additional work may be performed on an agreed upon fee basis. Tom will attempt to answer questions immediately or within an hour of speaking with you. The topics addressed may include, but are not limited to: • • • • • • • •

EEO issues - hiring, termination, promotion, demotion and discipline. ADA - hiring, testing, termination and accommodation. Harassment Unemployment compensation Wage and hour Non-compete agreements General contract issues Department of Transportation issues

• • • • • •

Workers' compensation OSHA Employment contracts Drug and Alcohol Testing Union organizing Family and Medical Leave Act

Tom Revnew is a shareholder with the law firm of Seaton, Beck & Peters. He represents and counsels employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including union avoidance, unfair labor practices, workers' compensation, drug testing, privacy issues, OSHA compliance, the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment discrimination, unemployment compensation, personnel policies and employee handbooks, restrictive covenants, hiring, discipline and discharge and other general employment issues. Mr. Revnew is a frequent trainer and lecturer on the topics of discipline and discharge, safety and health issues in the workplace, employment discrimination and labor law issues. MSBOA encourages you to use this free service. When using the hotline, please follow the following procedure: 1. Call Tom Revnew's direct dial, which is (952) 921-4622. 2. Identify yourself, your company name and that you are a client of MSBOA. 3. If Tom Revnew is not available, please leave a voicemail with the information described above and Tom will return the call as soon as possible. 4. If Tom Revnew is not available and your call is an emergency, please dial "0" when you receive Tom's voicemail and you will be transferred to the receptionist.


10

Transportation Issues Committee Minutes Meetings held monthly at the MN Department of Education Building Summary: The summary of the November Transportation Issues meeting was approved as Distributed. Special Education Transportation Committee: Lori was not present for the meeting. Kelly Wosika's revisions to the Special Education Transportation Provider's Guide are still being reviewed in MDE and will be posted on the Department's website soon after some minor tweaking. The Special Education Transportation Committee is reviewing a Peggy Burns publication, taking one chapter each month. The Special Education Driver and Assistant Awards Program is under way. Application forms can be found on MDE, MSBOA and MAPT websites. The deadline is March 14. Old Business: Mike Turrito was not present to deliver an update on WATS. Fischer will contact him again and try to get him to the February meeting. MN School Safety Conference: Fischer announced that the Minnesota School Safety Center Conference will be held on February 20-21 at the Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park. Registration is $200. Their new website is: www.mnschoolsafety.org Legislative Auditor's Report: The Legislative Auditor's Report on School District Student Transportation will be released on Tuesday, January 29 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 112 at the State Capitol. All reports published by the Legislative Auditor are available on the day of release at: www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us NHTSA Work on Seat Belts: There was some discussion about the proposed NHTSA seat belt standards. Fischer raised the question of whether the present seat back heights would still be available. Most of the commenters thought they would not be available. That means all new school buses will have the 24" seat back heights even if they do not have lap/shoulder belts. John Thomas stated that all their buses have the 24" seat back heights. Drivers had some concerns about them when they first started to be used. Concerns have pretty much melted away, and the drivers now accept them. There was a webinar (web seminar) on the use of seatbelts in school buses. The entire webinar can be seen at: www.schoolbusfleet.com/webinars/Jan08 Type III driver qualifications: David Peterson presented some changes for qualifications of Type III drivers. MSBOA and MAPT are in agreement for the most part. Both organizations will be working with legislative staff and committee chairs to move these changes along.

Another topic that will probably be considered in the legislature is a program for drug testing of Type III drivers. A third issue is the upgrading of the definition for a Type A bus to meet the national guidelines. That will include a better definition for a Multi Function School Activity Bus. MARRS Codes: Kelly explained how districts can charge the additional special education field trip expenses to Fin Code 723. Kelly is starting a Transportation Director List Serve she will use to send out information from MDE. Contact Kelly to get on the list unless you know you are already on it. TSA School Bus Security Assessment: Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina wrote to Homeland Security about a lack of progress on a measure to improve safety for students traveling to school by bus. His letter was to Edmund Hawley, the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for the Transportation Security Administration. TSA was charged to leading a School Bus Risk Assessment and reporting to Congress within one year. As of the time of Etheridge's letter, TSA had made little or no progress during the six months since the requirement was enacted. Etheridge wants to fire up TSA to get the job done in the remaining six months. Transportation Contract Rates Survey : Jan distributed a spread sheet of the information he has gathered. He explained his findings and some of his techniques for trying to make information more compatible. Future Meeting Dates Are : February 27, 2008 March 26, 2008 April 23, 2008

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


THANK YOU!

11

To the following vendor members who attended and generously supported our 30th Annual MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference in Mankato, MN!!! A.C.C. International, Inc. Astleford International Trucks Black Financial Services Bus Watch by REI CATCO Cummins NPower D&D Instruments Donaldson Company, Inc. Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. Interstate Power Systems Kremer Spring, Alignment & Body Midwest Bus Parts, Inc. Minnesota Motor Bus, Inc. MN Soybean Growers Association North Central Bus Sales O’Day Equipment, LLC PA Post Pomp’s Tire Service Pro-vision, Inc.

Ricon Corporation Scmitty & Sons Bus Sales, Inc. Seon Design, Inc. Shriver Insurance Agency Superior Transit Sales, Inc. The Braun Corp. Versa Trans Solutions, Inc. Wells Fargo Insurance Ziegler Power Systems Zonar Systems

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

MN Dept. of Education Pupil Transportation Email List The Minnesota Department of Education Pupil Transportation Unit has implemented a Transportation Director E-mail list serv. The list serv will provide information regarding pupil transportation. The e-mail messages will include topics such as state pupil transportation reporting, legislative and MDE policies regarding pupil transportation and the "Vehicle Newsletter". If you would like to be included in the Transportation Director List Serv, please send an e-mail to kelly.wosika@state.mn.us indicating you would like to receive e-mail news regarding pupil transportation. If you think someone should be included on the Transportation Directors list serv have that person send an email to kelly.wosika@state.mn.us.

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events 2008 MSBOA Annual Summer Conference 60th Anniversary Celebration June 8-10, 2008 Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Watch your mail for information regarding the upcoming:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success Registration materials will be sent to you soon.

This is an event you do not want to miss!


Volume 38 Issue 3 • March 2008

A Time to Grieve... By Shari Danzeisen As members of the MSBOA we are all devastated by the accident in Cottonwood. MSBOA is made up of school bus contractors but this industry includes many more people, managers, school bus drivers, bus assistants, and mechanics all with the same goal of providing safe transportation for Minnesota's children. On February 19, 2008 four of those precious children were taken away from those who love them the most - their families. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families that have suffered this devastating loss, their friends, their school and the whole community of Cottonwood. We keep in mind Palmer Bus Company, the driver involved in the accident, and all their drivers in this time of suffering. On February 19, the bus driver was faced with a terrible situation that we all train for and pray never happens. He did what he was supposed to do...remain calm and see to the safety of his students as his first priority. As we all know, a driver can develop relationships with children that are very strong as they transport those students throughout their school careers. This had to be an extremely difficult time for him. As industry professionals, we can be proud of the manner in which he responded. The driver was not alone is his heroic efforts, there were others that helped him that day. The nurse who first arrived on the scene, the fire and police crews who knew each of the students on the bus, the school staff, the clergy, and the community of Cottonwood who all grieve together. The devastation of an accident like the one in Cottonwood cuts deep. In the next few months, our association’s members will be healing as well. Our “business” the business of transporting students is much more than a just a “business”. We see this every day in the smiling faces we see getting on and off our buses - those precious lives - lives that are so fragile. We all try to cope by putting ourselves in the shoes of the people in Cottonwood. We try to find answers as to why this tragedy occurred and why these students that were on their way home from school like many other days before - didn’t make it home. We do our jobs to the best of our abilities to ensure that students are safe every single day. We must never take the things that we do in safety’s sake for granted. We must always improve upon our safety training and keep working to make school bus transportation as safe for Minnesota school children as it can possibly be as we heal from this tragedy. The MSBOA is working on arranging a memorial to the families of the children that were lost. We hope that in a small way it will help alleviate some of the families’ stress during this incomprehensible time. If you would like to donate to the memorial fund established in Cottonwood, the address is: United Southwest Bank P.O. Box 288 Cottonwood, MN 56229

INSIDE: TRANSPORTATION SPECIALIST APP., JOE BEATON SCHOLARSHIP APP...


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Tom Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA As I sit down to write my article, I find this the hardest article I have written. As the tragedy of February 19, 2008 unfolds, I discover that not only were 4 precious lives lost, one of the children lost was a friend's that I teach firearms training with. So often you hear of an accident and as tragic as they all are they just don't seem to hit home. This one has. It has happened in my home. I am truly moved by the watching a community move into action, and rally around this event. I know they say time heals all wounds but it will take along time for this region and industry to heal. We all take so many things for granted. The children that we transport truly are priceless. Maybe the little things are just a little more important today. May our thoughts and prayers be with the families that have been so impacted. As one of the mothers that lost a son said "Give your child a hug tonight and then give them an extra one". Humbly submitted, Thomas L Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

The new legislative session, which began on February 12, is off and running. After one week they have passed one constitutional amendment for conservation, clean water, parks, trails, arts, and history. Both the House and Senate are preparing major transportation bills for floor action in week two of the session. In addition, a number of hearings have taken place regarding the new bonding bills that both bodies are putting together and expected to pass in the third week of session! Regarding school bus issues, that pace has been a bit more normal, but that is changing as I writing this report. On February 18, Brent Orr of Vision of Elk River represented MSBOA before the House Education Finance and Economic Competitiveness Division regarding the recently released Legislative Auditor's report on School District Student Transportation. Mr. Orr is a former Assistant Superintendent at Elk River. The Auditor's report is based on visits with 34 school districts, a 95% return response to all school districts regarding district transportation policies and practices, and a number of meetings with state officials and other concerned and affected parities. The Auditors attended the MSBOA/MAPT summer conference in Brainerd. Their findings concentrated on the need for tighter Type III van driver qualifications and the need for the Minnesota Department of Education to develop, distribute, and ensure compliance with school district student transportation best practices, as well as encouraging the State to provide transportation contracting guidelines and a model transportation contract for school districts. A number of the recommendations from the Auditor's report are expected to be implemented through statute, rule, or policy in the near future. On February 25, two bills are scheduled to be heard in the same Senate committee of major interest to MSBOA members. First, Senator Olseen is expected to present his legislation to address the tightening of type III van drivers transporting students in Minnesota. We have just seen a draft of the recommendations that his bill contains and will be preparing testimony based on MSBOA position paper approved by the board at their January meeting. MSBOA is expected to be generally supportive of tightening the state law regarding Type III van drivers, making them subject to all the pre-employment testing and regular employee requirements that school bus drivers adhere to, short of a CDL license. That would allow the "occasional driver" to continue to occasionally drive students in certain situations. Also scheduled to be heard that same day in the same Senate Education Committee is Senator Dibble's "Student Transportation Services Procedures and Standards" bill. This new version has just been released and only contains two sections. Section 1 lays out new state policy regarding private student transportation requirements for contracts

between the school district and the contractor. Section 2 centers around driver's rights, including a scheduled paid 15 minute bus inspection period before the daily trip and the driver's right to refuse to drive an unsafe bus that they have documented needs repairs. While the bill has been shorted and narrowed from last year's model, the MSBOA will continue to oppose the bill as unnecessary and already what local school districts can write into their bid specs and contracts. These bills, and maybe others, are expected to be heard in the House E-12 Education policy committee and the Education Finance and Economic Competitiveness Finance Division of the full House Finance Committee. In the Senate, the bills mentioned above among others, are expected to move through the Senate Education policy committee and the E-12 Education Budget Division of full Senate Finance Committee. We are listing the members of these four key committees that can affect the future of student transportation in this state-both policy and funding on page 6. If one of more of these Representatives or Senators represents you and your districts, we encourage you to talk to them directly about the bills mentioned above. If you need more information or bill numbers, call or email me directly. We must let them know what we are thinking, our desires, and our concerns. If not? The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, is interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that you believe the MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-2939295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com.

Black Financial SERVICES, INC.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4 Recent SEIU Study Falls Short in its Campaign for Safety Shelly Jonas The Service Employees International Union or SEIU produced a document entitled Safe, from Home to School: The need for transportation reform in Minnesota. You may have received a copy in your email at the end of January. If you missed it, you can view a copy on their website: www.seiu284.org. In short, the document was prepared to support a bill that is authored by Senator Scott Dibble. At this date, the bill does not have a senate file number, but a version of it should be included in this newsletter as an insert. It is crucial that you contact your Senators once again on this bill, especially if they serve on the Senate Education committee. You may recall last year, many of you were called upon to do this and we will need your help once again. The risks to have an organization with their own agenda posing them as “safety interests” are obvious. The SEIU seeks to rid the state of contracted transportation so that they can unionize all school bus drivers by going through school boards rather than the election process. This latest effort takes direct aim at contracted transportation. It asserts that contracted transportation is not only more expensive, it is less safe. It claims that information taken from the MN Department of Education shows districts that contract for transportation pay 10% more than districts that have in-house transportation programs. The SEIU blames this cost discrepancy on the lack of competition in the industry and calls the industry an “oligopoly”. It points to St. Paul, who in 2006, only had four bidders for its various contracts. The four bidders were already school transportation providers for St. Paul and SEIU claims some of the routes went up as much as 25%. The SEIU document quickly (and without any proof) dismisses the possibility that it had anything to do with increased labor or fuel costs. It does not mention the 2007 engine requirements that increased bus prices by $6000 or what the prices of steel, copper, platinum, aluminum have done to the market. The document also very conveniently forgets to mention that the bids for the 2006-2007 school year required contractors to provide drivers with paid sick leave. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the sick-leave provision was a suggested contract modification promoted by the SEIU. At the time, a representative of First Student stated that the sick leave provision added a cost with no direct safety benefit and likened it to fixing something that wasn’t broken. It is ironicl that the SEIU’s own provision caused the increase in transportation costs, and now the union is turning around and blaming “greedy contractors” for it. The next concern the SEIU report takes a look at is safety. To investigate deeply into this issue, the document looks at exactly only one school district, Minneapolis. It asked school district staff to collect data from the 2004/2005 school year through the first quarter of the 2006/2007. It found that Minneapolis drivers have an average length of service of approximately 10 years. The contracted drivers have an experience level around 4 years. It compiled the data and presented a bar graph showing that school district drivers have far fewer accidents than contracted transportation drivers presumably because of the more experienced drivers. However, it neglects to point out that the Minneapolis school district contracts out for 65% of their transportation needs and provide 35% of the transportation needs in house. According to the latest figures on the MNDOE website, the contracted drivers put on 2.8 million miles and in house operations log 2.3 million miles. If you multiply the SEIU compiled accident data by the miles driven, you find a very unsurprising result. In 2004/2005, the Minneapolis school district drivers had 35% of the accidents, and contractor operations had 65% of the accidents. In the following year, the Minneapolis school district drivers had 38% of the accidents and the contractor operations had 62% of the accidents - so much for the more experienced driver theory.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call:

The rest of the report is filled with soft data that the union collected by surveys. It is unclear what the selection process was for the survey or how many drivers or parents were surveyed. The survey apparently asked vague questions like, “If you might leave your job at some point in the next two years, why would you leave?” The results precluded retirement as an answer. The bulk of the answers listed were lack of hours available. Twenty six percent of the drivers surveyed had a second job. They are not surprising answers given that school bus driving has never been a full time job. Ed. Note: The bill has since been numbered S.F. 3078 and has moved out of the Senate Education Committee and on to Finance.

Continued on page 5.

1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


5

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-253-3000 or 800-777-4896.

SEIU Study...Continued from Page 4. If it became a full time occupation like the study seems to suggest, what would that do to the cost of school transportation in the state of Minnesota? One wonders if that would be the next SEIU study. Additionally, the survey found 12% of the drivers they surveyed claimed to not be paid for doing their pre-trip inspection. It would be interesting to find out whether or not these drivers were paid by the route or some other method where the employee may not be aware of how their pay rate was derived. Unfortunately, due to the ambiguous results, we have no idea. The parent survey questions also seemed to be vague and derived by the sought after results of the survey. They report predictable results such as over 95 percent of parents surveyed believe that school bus drivers should be professionals. The study concludes with several recommendations for reform, which not-so-coincidentally, all can be found in a bill authored by Scott Dibble (D- MPLS). This bill would require contractors to list their driver’s experience level, turnover rate, minimum hours of training, minimum amounts of time holding a valid driver’s license, recruitment plans (including sick pay, holiday leave, health insurance, etc.), accident reports, and any federal, state or local law enforcement violations that relate to health, safety or labor violations. This is a superfluous requirement; school districts can already can and do make any of these requests for information in the contract process. The bill also would allow school districts to award transportation contracts to a bidder, other than the lowest bidder if it is in the interest of safety or cost-effectiveness. It would require all employers to pay their drivers for pre-trip inspections and protect drivers from discipline if they refuse to operate a bus that they have determined is unsafe. During the St. Paul sick leave debate, a St. Paul National Bus Sales school board member stated that it was not part of the school’s mission to micromanage Your #1 source of late-model, the free market. All of the requirements this bill would require would definitely fall into low-mileage buses! “micromanagement”. None of these requirements can be proven to have a direct safety • Excellent Condition benefit. Quite frankly, Dibble and the unions are using the State Legislature in order to CALL FOR YOUR • Fully Serviced more easily organize. Once drivers names and pay rates are a matter of public record, • Complete Detail QUOTE TODAY! • Warranty the union will be able to approach them and promise them better pay and benefits. You must contact your Senator TODAY and let them know that this is unacceptable.

1.800.475.1439


6

Legislative Committees Please look at this list of Legislative Committee persons. If you have a legislator from your area on this list, you should be contacting them either by phone, letter, or email regarding your feelings on the Dibble Bill, the SEIU Study, and the proposed Type III Driver Qualification Legislation. If you do not know who represents you please go to: http://geo.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/districts/start.html All you need to do is put your address and it will give you your State Representative, your State Senator, your US Rep and your US Senators.

House Education Finance and Economic Competitive Finance Division Chair: Mary Murphy (DFL) Vice Chair: Sandra Peterson (DFL) Lead-GOP: Randy Demmer (R) Jim Abeler (R) Robin Brown (DFL) Julie Bunn (DFL) Rob Eastlund (R) Sondra Erickson (R) Pat Garofalo (R) Mindy Greiling (DFL) Rod Hamilton (R) Bud Heidgerken (R) Frank Hornstein (DFL) Scott Kranz (DFL) Carlos Mariani (DFL) Sandra Masin (DFL) Gene Pelowski Jr. (DFL) Tom Rukavina (DFL) Connie Ruth (R) Maria Ruud (DFL) Nora Slawik (DFL) Tom Tillberry (DFL) John Ward (DFL) Lynn Wardlow (R) ex-officio Lyndon Carlson (DFL) ex-officio Loren Solberg (DFL)

House E-12 Education Policy Chair: Carlos Mariani (DFL) Vice Chair: Denise Dittrich (DFL) Lead-GOP: Sondra Erickson (R) Jim Abeler (R) John Benson (DFL) Robin Brown (DFL) Jim Davnie (DFL) Randy Demmer (R) Bob Dettmer (R) Steve Gottwalt (R) Mindy Greiling (DFL) Bud Heidgerken (R) Frank Hornstein (DFL) Larry Hosch (DFL) Carolyn Laine (DFL) Bud Nornes (R) Sandra Peterson (DFL) Nora Slawik (DFL) Linda Slocum (DFL) Marsha Swails (DFL) Tom Tillberry (DFL) Dean Urdahl (R) John Ward (DFL) Lynn Wardlow (R) Andy Welti (DFL) ex-officio Mary Murphy (DFL)

Senate E-12 Education Budget Divison Chair: LeRoy A. Stumpf Vice Chair: Terri E. Bonoff Ranking Minority Member: Gen Olson Member: Ellen R. Anderson Tarryl L. Clark Kevin L. Dahle Chris Gerlach David W. Hann Amy T. Koch Claire A. Robling Sandy Rummel Kathy L. Saltzman Tom Saxhaug Linda Scheid Dan Skogen Patricia Torres Ray Betsy L. Wergin Charles W. Wiger Senate Education Chair: Charles W. Wiger Vice Chair: Sandy Rummel Ranking Minority Member: David W. Hann Member: Terri E. Bonoff Jim Carlson Sharon L. Erickson Ropes Debbie J. Johnson Michael J. Jungbauer Ann Lynch Geoff Michel Rick E. Olseen Gen Olson Kathy L. Saltzman LeRoy A. Stumpf Patricia Torres Ray


7

News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

Uphill Both Ways

Steven P Jannings, Albert Lea Bus Company, Albert Lea , MN

Ed. Note: This light-hearted article was submitted before the tragic accident in Cottonwood occured. Well, here we are in the clutches of a real Minnesota winter. Not a Missouri winter like the past four years! As usual we are facing a host of challenges, besides the weather. Senator Dibble & the SEIU (are the two interchangeable?) are back with a particularly nasty report (totally fabricated/skewed/contrived) that puts contracted student transportation in a poor light. Proposed legislation will likely change the way some of us operate Type III vehicles , and honestly it’s a good thing. And as always we are in the middle of the “scrum “ fighting for the shrinking education dollar. A new name for you to remember… Tom Revnew . Tom and his firm will operate our legal services “hotline “ He is a great guy and truly interested in our industry. As you ponder the challenges we face, let me share a comment from my boss, Bill Regan, from a LONG time ago. “If this business were easy, everybody would be in it.“ That said, buck up and operate your business like only you can. Oh yeah, hope the consultants stay away!! Humor has always been a good way to relieve tension, so here is my take on the old reliable TOP TEN LIST. TOP TEN THINGS OVER HEARD AT THE WINTER CONFERENCE: #10 #9 #8 #7 #6 #5 #4 #3 #2

Wayne Hoglund: “Lottsa lookers, No buyers” Roger Milner: “If the pencil sales don’t improve, the dues are going through the roof” Shari to Shelly: “Some of these guys just never learn!” Bill Regan to Fred Lenz: “Where’s all the old guys ?” Tom Revnew on inking a hotline contract: “Had my heart set on a Lexus, looks like I’m getting the KIA.” Dave Bakken: “Has anyone seen Jill?” Tom Watson: “Geez, no one wants to buy me a drink” Gaylen Lenz: “Where’s the Karaoke?” Lyle Hicks: “I seem to have lost Steve again...”

And the # 1 thing overheard at the winter conference: Jannings: “Conference? Meetings? What Meetings?” A big thanks to all who made the past conference a success. It’s always a pleasure to see Good friends and associates. See you at the Big 60th Summer conference.

Nominate an employee for the 2008 Transportation Specialist Awards! Application forms are included in this issue of The Operator


8

The Bus Body By Tom Merrill, President, Faribault Transportation, Faribault, MN When something tragic happens to anyone in our profession and those we serve, our entire “bus body” feels the impact. We cannot nor should we try to hide the pain, sorrow or sympathy we feel for those directly affected. However, our own pain is very real because we are all united in our service, and the love and care we have for our communities. Our driver’s rooms become somber and silent as each driver reflects on their responsibility, wondering how they would deal with such an awful situation. Management is overwhelmed with the media, school and community personnel. Our emotional response is put on hold; we do not have time to cry. A quick prayer, “God, please guide me through this” may be all we can utter. He will answer. Upon hearing of the accident on February 19th in Cottonwood, I felt the pain for the part of our “body” that was dealt with this tragic blow. How quick our prayers are heard. God sends those angels to us in the form of paramedics, law enforcement personnel and witnesses who immediately assist in caring for the injured. The school officials and community members reach out to comfort the families of those involved. Now I realize the “bus body” is even bigger than I imagined, and it all experiences the pain as we do. Healing begins almost as soon as the pain is inflicted. However, my ingratitude for all the good things that happen every day without as much as a thank you, to the one cry out to for help in time of need, weighs heavily on my mind. Thank you to all those angels that answer the call when the unthinkable happens to a part of our “body”. I am sorry for my ingratitude for what you do for me daily and for our “body” as a whole. We know the healing will come though, the scars still remain. We only have to look to the cross to see that, after the pain, there is healing. May God bless all those who care for our “bus body” when it is in need of love and care.

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY! New Family and Medical Leave Requirements for Military Families On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. Section 585 (Family Leave in Connection with Injured Members of the Armed Forces) provides the first expansion to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) since enacted in 1993. This expansion includes new leave requirements for: (1) employees with a spouse, child or parent on (or being called to) active duty and, (2) employees caring for a "covered servicemember" with a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty. Leave for Active Duty. The NDAA provides for 12 weeks of FMLA leave to any eligible employee during any 12 month period for a "qualifying exigency" arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent is on (or being called to) active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a "contingency operation." A "contingency operation" is defined as a military operation as designated by the Secretary of Defense involving hostilities against an enemy of the United States or other calls to duty during times of war or national emergency; however, it is unclear what constitutes a "qualifying exigency" and whether or not it is related to a health condition. The Department of Labor (DOL) will define "qualifying exigency" through its rulemaking process. The DOL has not indicated when this definition will become available; however, on its website, states that it is "working quickly to prepare more comprehensive guidance regarding rights and responsibilities under the new legislation." Neither the FMLA nor the NDAA pre-empt state law. Minnesota is one of only seven states with a law allowing a leave of absence (ten working days) for an employee whose immediate family member has been injured or killed while engaged in active service. For Minnesota employers, the new "active duty leave" in conjunction with the current state law will make leave coordination more complicated. Caregiver Leave. The NDAA also allows for 26 weeks of FMLA leave in one 12 month period for any eligible employee to care for a "covered servicemember" with a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty. This servicemember must be the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the employee. Permitting leave for the next of kin ("the nearest blood relative") is the first time the FMLA has authorized leave for a family member other than a spouse, parent, son or daughter. If a husband and wife work for the same employer, the 26 weeks is only allowed as an aggregate total for both. Fur-

thermore, during the single 12 month period, an eligible employee is only entitled to a combined total of 26 weeks of leave for: birth/adoption; serious health condition of the employee, employee's spouse, parent, son or daughter; "active duty leave" for a "qualifying exigency" (see above), and; to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness. Intermittent Leave. Both types of leave described above provide for intermittent leave and reduced leave schedules. The employee, however, must meet the initial FMLA requirements (employed for at least 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 month period at a worksite with at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius) to be entitled to the leave. Certification. An employer may require that a request for "caregiver leave" be supported by certification issued by a healthcare provider. (This is the same certification required when an employee takes leave to care for the serious health condition of a spouse, parent, son or daughter.) An employer may also require that a request related to "active duty leave" be supported by certification. The timing and manner of the "active duty" certification, however, has not been defined by the DOL. Continued on Page 10.


10

Upcoming Summer Conference By now, all members should have received their MSBOA Diamond Anniversary: 60 Years of Safety, Friendship and Success invitation and registration packet. If you have not considered attending a summer conference before or for many years, please consider attending this one! We will be having an exceptional seminar regarding Driver Qualification Files and DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing files. The Department of Public Safety is aware of this seminar and are very pleased that it is being offered to our members. Our office has been told that within the next year, bus companies will be having inspections of their files. If you want to make certain that your files are ready for an inspection - do not miss this seminar. The other great reason to attend this conference is to enjoy the comraderie between all the fellow bus operators. 60 years is a long time for a group to be in existence! This will be a fantastic celebration and many fun activities are still being planned. Be sure to watch your mail and upcoming issues of The Operator for further information.

Order Your Safety Folders & Coloring Books Order forms for the MSBOA School Bus Safety Folders and Coloring Books are included in this newsletter. Orders for the 2008-2009 school year will be taken until July. The orders are then printed and sent to you before the school year. Coloring Books are in stock now and are available for immediate shipping. The Coloring Books are a great handout for kindergarten round up, open houses and for the second yearly mandatory safety training for students K-3. The School Bus Safety Folders are not immediately available because they are printed with your company name and information on them - they are a specialty item. The folder orders are collected from all companies until we have an order of 10,000 or more. They are then sent to the printer. This enables MSBOA to keep the cost of the folders down and enables us to have the company names imprinted on them. Get your orders in as early as possible to ensure delivery before school.

LEGAL NOTES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9...

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906 Effective Dates. The "caregiver leave" requirements went into effective immediately while the "active duty leave" will become effective once the DOL defines "qualifying exigency." The DOL advises that employers are encouraged to "act in good faith in providing leave under the legislation" while we wait for further guidance on "active duty leave" to be issued. REMINDER: Posting Deadline for OSHA 300-A Log is February 1 OSHA 300-A logs must be posted by February 1 and remain posted through April 30, 2008. Covered employers with more than 10 employees are required to post this log regardless of whether any reportable injuries/illnesses occurred during the prior year. For more information, contact Thomas Revnew at 952.921.4622.


11 2007: An Eventful Year in the School Bus Seat Belt Debate Shelly Jonas Following the accident in Cottonwood, undoubtedly the seat belt question will arise once again. The MSBOA will most likely need to decide what their position will be once again in this legislative session. This past year, there has been a flurry of activity in the seat belt saga. Early in 2007, at least 15 states had some sort of pro-seat belt language introduced in their legislature. This was a record number of states introducing such legislation. In February 2007, Alabama Governor Bob Riley appointed a Study Group on School Bus Seatbelts following a November 2006 crash which killed 3 children. The group made a recommendation that NHTSA needed to give updated national guidelines. The group also recommended that pilot study be conducted in the state of Alabama with five buses with lap shoulder belts so issues like reduced capacity and discipline issues could be studied for three years. The study was estimated to cost the state $1.4 million. On June 8, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a bill mandating 3 point belts in all school buses purchased after 9/1/10. The bill was prohibited from taking effect until the legislature specifically funded it. One of the main supporters of the law was the West Brook Crash Families. They formed following a March 29, 2006 motor coach crash that killed two young girls on a soccer team. The parents stated that they did not know a motor coach was inherently less safe than a school bus. They redirected their grief in order to make travel by bus safer for all children. Motor coach seat belt legislation is to take effect in 2014. On July 11, NHTSA held a roundtable discussion and hinted at seeing a proposed rulemaking in the fall. NHTSA invited industry experts from around the US and Canada to listen to their testimony. Administrator Nicole Nason closed the hearing stating she felt the testimony was interesting, but somewhat contradictory. The West Brook Crash Families gave an emotional appeal to NHTSA and indicated that many parents do not allow their children to ride buses because they view them as unsafe precisely because there are no seat belts.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY�

HOGLUND

In August, The Congressional Research Service issued a report called Seat Belts on School Buses: Overview of the Issue with four options for Congress to take: Status Quo, Require Large Buses to have Lap/Should Belts, Encourage the Purchase of Large Buses with Lap/Shoulder Belts, or Pursue Alternative Safety Initiatives. The last recommendation contained a comment that a grant program to encourage school districts to increase the percentage of students who travel to school by bus would result in less overall deaths.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses

In November, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced that NHTSA would submit a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for new seatbelt and seat height requirements for certain buses. Many news programs have taken this as the final rule. However, there is usually a period of time for the public to inspect the comments and analysis completed before the final rule is issued. NHTSA accepted comments through January 20, 2008. These comments can be viewed on www.regulations.gov. The School Bus Manufacturers Council left some interesting technical commentary. The proposed rule would go into effect one year from when it is adopted, however the School Bus Manufacturers Council indicated that a more practical lead time would be three years.

Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

BUS CO., INC.

Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events 2008 MSBOA Annual Summer Conference 60th Anniversary Celebration June 8-10, 2008 Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 SEIU Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Remember to register for the:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success

Registration materials were sent to you in a special mailing and are included in this newsletter. You can also find the information online at www.msboa.com

This is an event you do not want to miss!


Volume 38 Issue 4 • April 2008

Who is Telling Your Story?

Shelly Jonas

“PARENTS WONDER ABOUT SCHOOL BUS SAFETY” “PARENTS WORRY AFTER MULTIPLE BUS CRASHES” “12 OF 13 MINNEAPOLIS CHARTER SCHOOL BUSES FAIL INSPECTION” “SCHOOL BUS DRIVER WAS DRUNK” “LAWMAKERS WORK TO IMPROVE SCHOOL BUS SAFETY” “KSTP INVESTIGATES: WHO'S DRIVING YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL?” “AUTHORITIES SAY VAN DRIVER IN FATAL CRASH HAD MARIJUANA IN SYSTEM” “4-YEAR-OLD LEFT ON ROBBINSDALE SCHOOL BUS” These are the headlines in a search of the Twin Cities news channel and newspaper websites. They are sensational headlines. What parent wouldn’t click on those links? They are designed to implant fear into the hearts of parents. If it bleeds, it leads as the old saying goes. I recently sent out one of these articles to the board members and one board member responded with “This makes me angry! How do we best let the public know about the contractors out there who do the correct training, license checks and drug and alcohol testing?” After spending a considerable amount of time at the Legislature this past summer and spring, I have come to the conclusion that the Legislators really have no idea what we do. There are plenty of people who will tell them though. The Legislative Auditor filled them in. That report made our group look like a big unknown to the State. That is not good. The unknown is scary to everyone, particularly parents and school administrators. The auditor didn’t study our group, but that hasn’t stopped legislators from coming up with ideas on how come up with better oversight of our group. The other group that has stepped up to help tell our story is the Service Employees International Union. They have wasted no time telling Legislators that we are expensive and unsafe: two more scary words for parents and school administrators. Gaylen Lenz, the MSBOA Legislative Chair has done a remarkable job trying to tell our story, but it has been falling on a lot of deaf ears. One Senator commented, “I know this recent accident [Cottonwood] wasn’t your fault, but still…it happened.” What she left unsaid hung thick in the air, “We still are going to blame you.” Another Senator chimed in, “It seems that whenever something happens, one of you guys are involved…and I get a call about it.” You will see in Tom Hey’s article that he mentions the power of communication. You have the power! You need to meet with your school board, your superintendent, the public and let them know what you do. Don’t fall into the habit of keeping your head down doing your job, and expect that people will assume you are doing everything right. This is the information age after all. People demand information. You need to “toot your horn” a little bit. Or better yet, toot your employee’s horn. We’ve done many articles in The Operator about the need for our industry to push for positive press. But it seems that is something that often goes on the back burner as opposed to the day-to-day things that NEED to get done. However, I would challenge you that the climate in the industry has changed. This needs to get moved off the back burner and to the MUST DO PILE, IMMEDIATELY. Tell your story!! Don’t let others do it for you!! This industry has a lot to be proud of, get out there and let everyone know!

INSIDE: TRANSPORTATION SPECIALIST APP., JOE BEATON SCHOLARSHIP APP...


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA As I take time to reflect on what is happening in our industry I can't stress the importance of having a positive relationship with customers and school district you serve. With so many legislative issues popping up, we were invited to give a presentation to our school board and how will they be affecting the students and districts. So armed with the information sent out from MSBOA, we put together a PowerPoint and presented the findings of the auditors report, along with information on driver licensing, drug testing, ride along and all the information we are planning on certifying to the district once completed. This was the second school board meeting we presented at this year. For years we never attended board meeting or had any real involvement with board members. In this district all that has changed and I must admit for the better. We ALL provide a valuable service to the schools we serve! We need to be very proud of what we have accomplished. We are truly the professionals in our field and we need to make sure we are communicating our message. With that being said I hope everyone is making plans to attend the 60th anniversary of Safety, Friendship & Success.

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN

Take care, and have a safe spring!

VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Thomas Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

I am writing this article on the Wednesday before Easter Recess! The first five weeks of the 2008 legislative session have been filled with bill introductions, hearings, and more hearings. As the 201 legislators leave town for the Easter break, it gives me a chance to update the MSBOA members on the school bus action at the State Capitol. And there has been a lot of action! Legislative Auditors Report on School District Student Transportation The January 2008 Report has generated a great deal of interest, a number of overview hearings, and plenty of legislation. The Legislative Auditor's staff surveyed all Minnesota school districts (with a 95% return), visited 34 school districts, and attended the MSBOA/MAPT summer conference last year. The report calls for two main changes: (1) the legislature needs to tighten up the requirements for drivers of type III vehicles, and (2) the state needs to develop, distribute, and ensure compliance with school district student transportation practices and provide transportation contracting guidelines and a model transportation contract. Type III vans Legislation is moving on the Type III van recommendations for the Legislative Auditor's Report and highlighted by the Forest Lake van accident of last May that killed a 14-old girl and the 30-year old driver. SF2988-Olseen (D-Harris) and HF 3575-Bigham (D-Cottage Grove) have had hearings with MSBOA adding supportive testimony. The bills would make type III van drivers subject to all the pre-employment testing and regular employee requirements that school bus drivers adhere to--short of a CDL license. Their bills would allow the "occasional driver," like coaches, speech coaches, and superintendents to continue to "occasionally' drive students in certain situations. While some interests would like to see all van drivers transporting students subject to the full CDL, school bus endorsement, and full drug and alcohol testing, the school districts and the teachers unions oppose going that far this year. The Dibble/SEIU "Student Transportation Services Procedures and Standards Bill" SF3078-Dibble (D-Minneapolis) and HF 3469-Davnie (DMinneapolis) contain new language this year from last year's version. This SEIU sponsored bill contains only two sections. Section 1 would establish new state policy regarding private student transportation requirements for contracts between the school district and the school bus contractor. Section 2 is designed to protect driver's rights, including a scheduled paid 15 minute bus inspection period before the daily trip and the driver's right to refuse to drive an unsafe

bus that they have documented needs repairs. MSBOA continues to oppose both of these bills, as does the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Minnesota School Boards Associations. Last years allies, MAPT and the St. Paul School District, no longer oppose these bills. The Dibble bill has been amended into SF3001-Wiger (D-North St. Paul) which is the omnibus education policy bill. That bill received its first hearing this morning with further hearings next week after Easter break. The Davnie bill has been amended into HF3800-Hornstein (D-Minneapolis) which is the omnibus transportation policy bill. At each opportunity MSBOA has testified against these bills as unnecessary, redundant, discriminatory, unfunded mandates on school boards, and little or no proof that safety of the students on our buses would be any safer then they already are! We will continue to attempt to have the DibbleDavnie provisions/sections removed from both bills! Office of Pupil Transportation Safety SF3535-Olseen and HF3910-Morrow (D-St. Peter) offer a positive alternative to the Dibble-Davnie approach of private contractors reporting unwanted driver information to the school districts. The Olseen-Morrow bills would re-establish an Office of Pupil Transportation Safety in the Department of Public Safety, Division SERVICES, INC. of State Patrol. That P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 new division would (800) 279-2374 consist of a director, three troopers, and 15 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: school bus inspectors and would be responsiEMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING ble for all inspections, as well as, data collecCafeteria Plans (Section 125) tion relating to the safe401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing ty of the buses and the Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance qualifications of the drivers. Funding this INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING approach may be difficult that session with Mutual Funds the budget deficient IRA’s Annuities looming, but it offers a Private Retirement Plans far better public policy Life Insurance and safety program Estate Planning then does DibbleDavnie bill/approach.

Black Financial

Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.

Continued on page 5.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee February 27, 2008 Apple Valley MDE - Bob Fischer was not in attendance but sent the following information: The Special Education Driver and Assistant ward applications are on the Department web site. It is also be on the MAPT and MSBOA sites. Deadline is March 14. Entrants will be judged on March 17. Bob asked if anyone that attended the School safety Conference had any comments. We will add this under new business. DPS - Ken Urquhart Ken talked about bills being presented at the Legislature pertaining to Type 3 vehicles. SF 2988. Ken talked about a proposal to create an office of School Bus Safety under the Department of Public Safety. DPS is working on information for best practices on drug and alcohol detection for supervisors to use. This will be ready at Train the Trainer this summer. Sgt Davis is working on this. On the department web site is a new form that employers can use for employees to report traffic convictions to the employer. Ken made a presentation about busses at the School Boards Association Conference. When training files are checked during inspection, thirty % of them are checked. If you have 30 or less employees all of them are checked. There is soft ware called E-Branch that several employers use for their training files. DVS - Deb Carlson Deb is now the Exam Program Manager. Congratulations again. Deb is also still in charge of third party testers at this time. License issuing is taking about 7 days now. Physical dates are also being entered much quicker. Usually less than one week. Attending a lot of hearings at the capital. School bus transportation is a hot topic currently especially after last weeks crash. Deb spoke a little about proposed training levels for bus drivers and what the Feds are proposing. Comments are due by March 25. Some of this states training needs to be done by a certified trainer. If this happens this might be the time to re-examine our certified training program more closely. Fingerprinting is now $24 instead of $29 for drivers that have lived out of State any time in the past 5 years. If a license is denied employers can't find out the reason becaue of data privacy laws. TTT- Ray Kroll Dates are July 15-18 2008 in Hinckley. Ray passed out a draft schedule. Still working on confirmation of presenters. The mechanics group will not be joining us but we will have training for Dispatchers. Sherry McKay and Cindy Johnson are working on this additional training piece. After next months meeting those interested can tour the casino facilities for suggestions for TTT in July. Poster contest- Cindy McKay Posters are due by April 7. Information will also be on the MAPT and MSBOA websites soon. The theme is 'Avoid Harm Obey the Stop Arm'.

Continued on page 6.


5

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-253-3000 or 800-777-4896.

Legislative Update Continued from Page 3. ÂŽ

CAT C7 ACERT ENGINE

The Perfect Fit for School Buses Features advanced emissions technology that exceeds clean air goals without sacrificing engine performance and reliability.  Mid range, 190-300 hp  Up to 4% better fuel economy, based on new Cat common rail fuel system  Leading edge electronics  Best life-to-overhaul  Easy maintenance  Cat 5-year warranty for school bus operators  Extended service plans, up to 10 years Call Greg Ross for more information.

Shakopee, MN

952.887.4582 • 888.320.4292

Special thanks to Gaylen Lenz and Shelly Jonas for their many trips to the Capitol this year! Additional thanks to the many board members, Lyle Hicks, and others MSBOA members that attended a House committee hearing recently only to be rushed through the testimony. In the last issue of the MSBOA magazine we listed the committees that have or will be dealing with these important bills-many positive and good and one bad bill/idea. We urge all MSBOA members to contact their representative and senator urging them to support the OlseenBigham bill and the Olseen-Morrow bill, but strongly oppose the Dibble-Davnie bill. The legislators have been hearing from board members and it is helping! We need to continue the pressure and continue the grassroots efforts. Together we can still win this battle! The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, is interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that you believe the MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com.


6

Alcohol Test Thrown Out Because of BAT Certification Lapse A school bus driver in Minnesota recently tested positive on a random alcohol test after their morning route. The company immediately followed Federal procedures to handle the incident only to find out a number of days later that the BAT (Breath Alcohol Technician) who administered the test had let his certification lapse. As of 2003, BATs are required to undergo refresher training every five years to make sure they are up on the latest regulations and are still qualified to operate a EBT (Evidential Breath Tester). Because the BAT in this case let his certification lapse, the test is thrown out - positive or not. Make sure that the company you use for your drug and alcohol testing services is keeping up on their training. Drug Test collectors must also undergo refresher training every five years. Simply ask the company you use if their collectors and BATs are up to date on their training and certification. They should be able to supply you with dates for the latest certification training of their BATs and Collectors or a certificate of training.

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Continued from Page 4. There was discussion on how to get more schools involved. Maybe the Governor could proclaim a day in January as 'poster contest day' Other ideas were shared. Certified Trainers - Sherry Case was not in attendance but will be sending out letters to all current certified trainers. MSBOA MSBOA is considering arranging a memorial in honor of the 4 students lost in the Cottonwood crash last week. A memorial fund has been established at United Southwest Bank PO Box 288 Cottonwood, MN 56229 if you are interested. MAPT - Ray Kroll David Peterson has sent out comments on the proposed Type 3 driver changes. This was passed out. New Business: When getting license plate numbers for handicapped plates you must get all of the numbers or it can't be pursued. Dave Delmonico reported that there was a meeting yesterday in St Cloud with the committee that is working on the new pre-trip video. They will be meeting again next week. Look Media Productions out of Red Wing will be working on the production of this video. Dave mentioned that they would also like to do a similar video on the Type 3 vehicles. Emily White, Cindy Johnson and Ray Kroll volunteered to work on this other piece in conjunction with the other group. Cindy will contact Jeff Mueller to see if he is also willing to help. The group will meet next Thursday March 6 at Ray's house at 9:00 AM. (Maybe we can see his loft). Cindy McKay reported she had been to the School safety Conference last week. She said it was good but not much information pertaining to buses. Emily White said she was disappointed that and agenda was not part of the registration so she could see exactly what was being offered. Maybe this will improve registration next year. Respectfully submitted, Emily White


7

News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

Lack of Motivation By Doug Grisim, Lake City Bus Lines, Lake City, MN I am writing this article while in St Louis at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament where we are trying to cheer our beloved Minnesota Gophers wrestling team to another national title. It looks like the Iowa Hawkeye’s are not cooperating though. Minnesota will be lucky to finish in the top 10 this year. While having a round table discussion last evening we got talking about what we thought was the main reasons for our lack luster performance this year at the tournament. Some of the reasons that came up were, lack of motivation by the athletes, coaching, injuries, competition being in better shape, strategies, and the list went on and on. It made me think a little deeper though. As I now look at the situation it can be compared to any business of ours. The lack of motivation can be compared to our employees not being motivated to perform their best at work everyday. Coaching is like being the boss at work. Injuries can be compared to our equipment not being taken care of. Competition being in better shape can be related to our fellow contractors being more efficient at what they do than us. Strategies, when was the last time you sat down and took a good long look at where your individual company has been and is going. As most of you may already know, I have a passion for amateur wrestling. I also think it is important to have the same passion for our school bus companies we run on a daily basis. When we go through lack luster times we need to take a good close look at how we do things. How can we implement new ideas to keep employees fresh and eager to perform at their peak everyday and remain motivated? In order to safely transport our children everyday, we must not miss one single element that we are expected to do; thorough daily pre-trips, timely MVR checks, conforming to drug and alcohol testing requirements, driver ride alongs. With all of the media attention our industry has gotten lately, let’s all make the commitment to do a little extra in our day to day operations for the safety of the children we transport in Minnesota. I hope the Easter holiday was meaningful to all and have a safe spring 2008!

Joe Beaton Scholarship Applications are due April 15th, 2008!!! Application forms are included in this issue of The Operator

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8

HAVE YOU HEARD THE BUZZ? Shari Danzeisen Many members are fully aware that MSBOA is celebrating a huge milestone this summer. For those of you that may be behind on your Operator reading, lost your mail or have been living under a rock (or bus!), here is the BUZZ: MSBOA Diamond Anniversary, 60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success

June 8-10, 2008, Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, MN This conference promises to be a great event. We are featuring two timely presentations for our members. Thomas Revnew, of Seaton, Beck, and Peters will be giving a comprehensive seminar on Driver Qualification Files and DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Files. The Department of Public Safety has told our office that in the next year, they will be checking your files as well as your buses. The following day, Paul Davis and Duane Bartels from the Department of Public Safety will be providing our group with vital information for our businesses. Topics of discussion will include: Type III Driver Qualifications, Inspections, and current statuatory regulations. This conference will also be a great celebration. Many fun and exciting events have been planned. We will be having a wine tasting event sponsored by Superior Transit Sales featuring Ruttger’s own private label wine. A number of antique school buses will be displayed featuring a 1948 school bus newly restored by Wayne Hoglund, Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. We will be holding our Transportation Specialist Awards and the MSBOA Safety Raffle on Sunday, June 8th. Usually the awards are held after the Monday night banquet, but to accomodate all of our special events, this schedule change was necessary. Please send in your Transportation Specialist Application as soon as possible. Monday afternoon is dedicated to spending time together with the friends we have made in MSBOA. Special activities are being planned for this afternoon and past members have been invited to join us for the celebration. Monday evening we will have our President’s Reception and Diamond Anniversary Banquet. Gents - dust off that tux! Ladies - throw on that fabulous gown you’ve been waiting to wear! This event is being billed as “black tie, formal dress optional”. This is definitely an event to get dressed up for - 60 years is a great accomplishment as an organization. When you are dressed in your finest, there will be an opportunity for you and your guest to have a professional photograph taken. Photographs are being sponspored by Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. At the Diamond Anniversary Banquet there will be several special presentations made to longtime members of our association that shouldn’t be missed. The evening will be wrapped up by dancing to “Sh-Boom” sponsored by Interstate Detroit Diesel and Allison Transmission. Registrations are being accepted now. This is an event that you do not want to miss! Registration materials are in this newsletter and at www.msboa.com.

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

Addressing School District Requests For Drug and Alcohol Testing Results As school bus operators are well aware, federal law requires all school bus drivers to undergo, among other things, pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion and random screening for drugs and alcohol. (See generally 49 CFR §382) In addition, Minnesota state law also regulates an employer's drug and alcohol testing of employees. See, Minn. Stat. §181.951. Under Minnesota state law, employers are required to notify employees of any test results (whether positive or negative) within three working days after receiving the test result report and the right to request and receive a copy of the test result. In the case of a positive test result on a confirmatory test, the employer must also inform the employee of the right to explain that result or request a confirmatory retest at the employee's own expense. Recently, school district superintendents have been requesting school bus contractors to disclose driver drug and alcohol testing results. Absent any contractual obligation with the school district as well as consent from the employee or job applicant, school bus companies do not have a legal obligation or right to disclose this information. In fact, under the Minnesota drug and alcohol testing law, test result reports and other information acquired in the testing process are private and confidential for both public and private sector employees and may not be disclosed to another employer, a third-party, a government agency or private organization, without the written consent of the employee or job applicant. See, Minn. Stat. 181.954, Subd. 2. Employees who learn their employer impermissibly disclosed test result reports may file suit seeking damages and reasonable attorneys fees. Thus, school district superintendents who ask for test result information should be reminded of the statutory restrictions in disclosing this information. In addition, school district superintendents have also been requesting school bus companies to disclose the results of background checks conducted on drivers. Due to privacy concerns, the results of a job applicant or employee background check, however, should not be released to any person other than the applicant or employee without that person's prior written consent. To relieve any tension with the school district, the school district superintendents should be reminded that the Department of Public Safety conducts criminal backgrounds checks prior to issuing or renewing any school bus endorsements.

As a valued member of Minnesota School Bus Operator's Association, you are entitled to using Thomas Revnew of Seaton, Beck & Peters’ Legal Hotline free of charge. During each six month period, you will be entitled to two free fifteenminute telephone calls to the Hotline. MSBOA encourages you to use this free service. When using the hotline, please follow the following procedure: 1.

Call Tom Revnew's direct dial, which is (952) 921-4622.

2.

Identify yourself, your company name and that you are a client of MSBOA.

3.

If Tom Revnew is not available, please leave a voicemail with the information described above and Tom will return the call as soon as possible.

4.

If Tom Revnew is not available and your call is an emergency, please dial "0" when you receive Tom's voicemail and you will be transferred to the receptionist.


10

Transportation Issues Study Committee The 154th Meeting • February 27, 2008 Next Meeting: March 26, 2008 9:30Noon Rooms 1 & 2, Depart. of Education Conference Center A, Roseville, MN 55113 Summary: The summary of the January Transportation Issues meeting was approved as distributed. Special Education Transportation Committee: The Special Education Transportation Com-mittee is reviewing a Peggy Burns publication, taking one chapter each month. The Special Education Driver and Assistant Awards Program is under way. Application forms can be found on MDE, MSBOA and MAPT websites. The deadline is March 14. Judging will be at the March 17 meeting. Old Business: Mike Turitto delivered an update on WATS. WATS now has 5 employees and they provide 230 routes. The East Metro area is the biggest for special needs transportation. In the West Metro, the interdistrict deseg program makes up most of their services. WATS has tried to work with charter schools, but most of them do not want to be included in a tiered trans-portation system. A tiered system is the only way to provide any efficiency. The WATS budget has grown from $2.5 million to $7.5 million. WATS now provides technical support for both Edulog and Versatrans. MN School Safety Conference: Fischer asked those who attended for comments on the School Safety Conference. Most of the comments were positive. Bills Affecting Transportation: Fischer distributed a list of bills that had crossed his desk for comments. They include: --HF 2630 This bill would relieve school districts from paying the excise (sales) tax on the purchase of vehicles used for the transportation of students.

---HF 3469/SF 3078 Requires district planning, a comprehensive policy, requirements for contractor provided student transportation services and conditions for school bus drivers. --SF 2988 This bill would bring drivers of Type III school buses under the same regulations for drug and alcohol testing as drivers of regular school buses. --SF 3077 This bill would place a series of requirements on school districts that want to enter into contracts for student transportation services. Office of Pupil Transportation Safety: A bill has been introduced to establish an Office of Pupil Transportation Safety within the Department of Public Safety. This bill would provide funding and permanent status for the School Safety Center. Since this is not a funding year, this bill may not see action until next year. Legislative Auditor's Report: The Legislative Auditor's Report on School District Student Transportation was released on Tuesday, January 29. The report included some recommendations for the MDE and for DPS. The Commissioner of Education sent a letter to the OLA that MDE agreed with the recommendations and would take action on them. The MDE will: • develop materials explaining school district student transportation best practices; • develop transportation contracting guidelines and a model transportation contract for school districts; and • ensure compliance by disseminating information, providing training, including selected best practice indicators in the review process when school district transportation audits are conducted each year. The Issues Committee was asked to provide input and assistance with the

first two responses. There was much discussion about what might be included and how big a project this could become. Fischer stated his wishes that perhaps two work groups or subcommittees could be established to work on the projects. He would like to have a draft ready for the March 26 meeting and some final polishing at the April 23 meeting. Many thought this timeline was too ambitious. There was some discussion about how detailed the OLA expected these documents to be. Maybe we were making the job bigger and more complex than necessary. Fischer agreed to contact Judy Randall to get her views and to invite her to attend the March meeting.

Continued on Page 11.

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


11 Have You Nominated a Transportation Specialist Yet??? Shari Danzeisen The MSBOA Diamond Anniversary: 60 Years of Safety, Friendship and Success is quickly coming up. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful time to let that person at your business who does everything in their power to be the best driver, mechanic, dispatcher, or office person be recognized? What a tremendous accomplishment to be named a Transportation Specialist! What a terrific time to receive their award - the 60th Anniversary of MSBOA! Putting together a nomination packet for one of their employees can be time consuming. We all deal with the same daily battles in the transportation industry that eat up valuable time. Yet, many many operators have taken advantage of this program as a way to say “Thank You” to the special people that mean so much to their business. If you have never submitted an application, please take the time to do so this year. It only takes a couple of minutes to fill out the application. Attach any type of letters of recommendation: parent, teacher, aide, student letters to the application. Your application packet will be returned to you. This award not only thanks your employee for their hard work and dedication, but it goes a long way in presenting a positive image of your company to your local community. The $1000.00 scholarship is a wonderful way to give back to your school and the students you serve. It is also an excellent way to counter-act the negative light that is sometimes shed on our industry. The applications need to be sent to the MSBOA Executive Office at 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302. Applications will be judged by an outside party in a state educational or state safety department. Do not delay! Take the time to nominate on of your employees this year.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

Applications are due: HOGLUND May 1, 2008. BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses

Transportation Issues Cont. from page 10. Subcommittees were formed: Working on Best Practices will be Keith Paulson, David Peterson and Lori Jonason. John Thomas, Jeff Pearson, Mike Turitto and Jan Vanderwall will be working on Contracts. Anyone interested in helping out on either of these subcommittees can contact Keith Paulson or John Thomas (or both). Someone also suggested that there is a need for a Best Practices Delivery Model for Special Needs Transportation. Transportation Contract Rates Survey : Jan distributed a revised spread sheet of the information he has gathered. He explained his findings and some of his techniques for trying to make information more compatible. Future Meeting Dates Are : March 26, 2008 -- Department of Education - CC 1 & 2, 9:30-Noon April 23, 2008 -- Department of Education - CC 1 & 2, 9:30-Noon

Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events MN School Bus Safety Road-E-O Saturday, May 31, 2008 Academy of Holy Angels Richfield, MN 2008 MSBOA Annual Summer Conference 60th Anniversary Celebration June 8-10, 2008 Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge Deerwood, MN Train-the-Trainer July 15-18, 2008 Grand Casino Hinckley, MN Ray Kroll: 763-391-6656

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MN School Bus Safety Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Remember to register for the:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success

Registration materials were sent to you in a special mailing and are included in this newsletter. You can also find the information online at www.msboa.com

This is an event you do not want to miss!


Volume 38 Issue 5 • May 2008

Fuel Clauses and Contract Negotiation Parts of this article are reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania School Bus Association The MSBOA Office has recently had calls from members looking for a sample contract fuel clause. Here are some samples compiled by the National School Transportation Association. According to a recent survey of NSTA members, only about a third of contracts include a fuel escalator clause. Without this clause in your contract - you are liable for all fuel costs, and must absorb any increase. The most advantageous contract is one in which the school district supplies all fuel, but if you are not able to negotiate that, you may be able to include an adjustment clause that allows you and the district to share the cost of increases. The examples listed are taken from various existing contracts around the country. All of them begin with a base price negotiated at the beginning of the contract. In some cases, the adjustment kicks in when fuel prices exceed (or go under) a percentage of the base, which is also negotiated. The goal is to protect the contractor from shouldering the entire burden of excessive increases while being fair to the district.

Sample 1: To protect the Contractor against inflationary increases in gasoline/diesel fuel prices over which neither the District nor the Contractor has control, a base price for fuel used in the operation of buses will be determined. As of __________, 20__, the current price is $_____________. This shall be the Base Price. Beginning September 1, 20__, and each month of the agreement thereafter, District shall compensate Contractor for any difference in excess of the fuel Base Price, dollar for dollar, for gallons of fuel used. There will be no change in the contract amount if the price per gallon remains at or below the fuel Base Price. Additional fuel charges will not necessitate an amendment to the Agreement, and will be made by regular invoice procedures.

Sample 2: The cost of fuel for this contract at the posted invoice cost to the Contractor as of _____________, 20__, shall be the base rate for the calculation of an adjustment to the contract price. Contractor will exercise all reasonable effort to purchase fuel at the lowest possible price without jeopardizing service. Prices will be compared locally from www.governmentguide.com website and compared to the Contractor’s local supplier or Contractor quoted costs. The parties understand that Contractor may not be able to purchase fuel at a price that is always the lowest price available in a time period due to storage, supplier or use requirements. The adjustment will be calculated monthly as follows: Cost of fuel per gallon as of ______________, 20__, shall be designated the base rate. There shall be no adjustment in contract price for a cost that is not greater than $_____ per gallon above the base rate. The number of miles per gallon shall be calculated at ________mpg. Actual miles travelled per month shall be documented by the Contractor and verified by the school business manager. An increase or decrease in the contract price for fuel cost per month shall be calculated as follows: Number of miles travelled per month divided by ______ miles per gallon equals the number of gallons consumed per month. Monthly rate for adjustment is determined first by establishing the cost per gallon for the applicable month. If that cost per gallon exceeds the base rate of _________, 20__, by more than $____per gallon the difference between the cost per gallon for the applicable month and cost per gallon in excess of $____per gallon above the base rate shall be used as the rate for adjusting the increased cost in the contract price for the month.

Continued on Page 6. INSIDE: REGISTRATION MATERIALS FOR THE MSBOA SUMMER CONFERENCE!


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA I can hardly believe another school year has come and gone already. For our company school ends May 30. As the year comes to a close I sit back and reflect on the past school year. Professionally this has been a year that will be difficult to forget. It has been a year of tragedy, constant media scrutiny and what has become the continued fight at the Capital. The most difficult for me was the loss of four precious lives at Cottonwood. This one was too close for me. We all take so much for granted and when you put things in perspective, maybe our issues aren't so bad. We all have ups and downs but I still can't imagine going through a loss of a child. Personally it has also been a very long year. It started in August with my daughter Sami having her gallbladder removed, Then, in November, my wife Jennifer having a hip replaced. And then finally myself having knee surgery in April. I am happy to report that all surgeries went well and by the time this is being read, all have fully recovered and have resumed a full schedule. Hopefully in my case this will include playing a little golf.

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED.

It has been a long year and it will be good to have a break. We all need to spend some time away from the job and spend it with the ones we love. Looking forward to seeing many of you as we celebrate our 60th.

CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS

Have a great summer, get your batteries recharged because a new school year is right around the corner !!

VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Boy does time fly when you are having fun!

LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN

Thomas Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

I am completing this article on Friday, April 18. Neither the Senate nor the House is in session today so it gives me a chance to do some writing. With the bonding bill "done," the Legislature and the Governor need only to figure out the budget deficit and go home! However, the three parties are still talking and positioning and holding press conferences. Meanwhile the Legislature has been busy this week passing some of the smaller bills that are allowed to "pile up" during the early weeks of the session. These bills are important to individuals, special interests and state agencies. The following is an update and status report on school bus issues of interest to MSBOA members: Type III Vans Legislation tightening Type III van licensing qualifications authored by Senate Olseen (D-Harris) passed the Senate on April 14 on a 61-0 vote. This bill (SF2988) is based on recommendations from the Legislative Auditor's January 2008 Report. The Forest Lake van accident of last May that killed a 14-old girl and the 30-year old driver adding interest and pressure to make changes in the current licensing qualifications in state law which allows drivers of Type III vans to drive students with only a Class D driver's license. The bills would make Type III van drivers subject to complete physical examinations, background checks, drug and alcohol testing, and safety training. The bill also prohibits Type III drivers from using a cell phone while operating the vehicle and establishes a zero tolerance for controlled substances. These bills would allow the "occasional driver," like coaches, speech coaches, and superintendents to continue to "occasionally' drive students in certain situations. HF 3575-Bigham (D-Cottage Grove) is awaiting House floor action and is expected to be voted on soon. MSBOA has testified in support of these bills. The Dibble/Davnie/SEIU "Student Transportation Services Procedures and Standards Bill" SF3078-Dibble (D-Minneapolis) and HF3469-Davnie (DMinneapolis) are both alive and moving in the legislative process. These bills would establish state policy regarding private student transportation requirements for contracts between school districts and the bus contractor and would require that bus drivers be paid for all the time they are either conducting a pre-trip inspection and daily routes. The bills would also allow bus driver the right to refuse to drive a bus that they have decided is unsafe. MSBOA continues to oppose both of these bills, as does the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Minnesota School Boards Associations. The Dibble bill has been amended into SF3001-Wiger (D-North St. Paul) which is the omnibus edu-

cation policy bill. The Dibble language has been changed thanks to the assistance of Senator Skogen (DHewitt). SF3001 passed the Senate on April 16. The provisions relating to a driver refusing to drive an unsafe bus based on his or her decision has been removed from the bill. The reporting provisions have been narrowed but MSBOA continues to oppose them. The Davnie bill has been amended into HF3800-Hornstein (D-Minneapolis) which is the omnibus transportation policy bill. At each opportunity MSBOA has testified against these bills as unnecessary, redundant, discriminatory, unfunded mandates on school boards, and little or no proof that the students on the buses would be any safer then they already are! We have also raised the point of privacy for our drivers, as well as for our companies in a competitive world. Note that the 40% of the buses and drivers that transport students in district owned buses would not have to provide/report any of the information being required of MSBOA members. We will continue to work to have the Dibble-Davnie provisions/sections removed from both bills. MSBOA members are strongly encouraged to contact your Representative and Senator urging them to vote to have this language removed from HF3800 and SF3001. Office of Pupil Transportation Safety SF3535-Olseen (DHarris) and HF3910Morrow (D-St. Peter) offers a positive alternative to the DibbleDavnie approach of private contractors reporting unwanted and unnecessary driver information to the school districts. The Olseen-Morrow bills would re-establish an Office of Pupil Transportation Safety in the Department of Public Safety, Division of the State Patrol. The new division would consist of a director, three

Black Financial SERVICES, INC.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee March 19, 2008 Hinckley DPS - Sgt Davis The department has been working with compliance issues with contractors and districts Reminded everyone to make sure they are doing what statue requires. You need to have the 5 documents in each training file. Also the information for pre-employment drug testing needs to be done and the file in order. If you need help ask. Remind employees that they must report any traffic convictions to their employer in writing. This information should be kept in the employees file. Senate File #3535 is moving forward. If passed, Duane Bartles will become the Chief Inspector with a full force of 15 inspectors. There will also be 3 Troopers dedicated to only school buses with one Lieut. overseeing the 3. We need to individually thank our Senators and Representatives for supporting this. This will be done by Statute so funding won't be reduced like it was in the past. There was some talk about the restricted bridge in St. Paul that made the news last week. Sgt Davis was requested to go to the bridge with St. Paul Schools. A private company has placed people on either side of the bridge this to make sure buses are aware of the restriction and not to cross. Routes are being re-routed. Areas like this should be watched for and heed the restrictions or find out more information before assuming you are exempt. Sgt Davis also talked about a recent alcohol case where the person giving the test did not have a current certification to do the test. Because of this the test results cannot be used. If there is a question please call the police when this happens to make it legal. Capt. Urquhart would like to create a

flow chart for employers to use to know exactly what to do in instances like this.

pass this year that will require a minimum of 30 minutes of training on school bus safety.

Discussion followed on stories about clinics not following drug testing laws. Check to make sure your clinic is following the legal procedures.

Law Compliance -Duane Bartels gave his report above with Sgt Davis.

Sgt Davis reminded us that you don't have to do a yearly ride-along evaluation if you have done the initial evaluation and if the driver completes a minimum of 8 hours in-service yearly that covers the 6 competencies. You must have documentation that these employees attended this training(s). DVS - Deb Carlson Background and physical exam entry/reporting is very current. Licenses are taking about 7 days with a full staff. There have been about 10 people inquiring about another third-party testing class. A class is 12 so another one should be going soon. You must employee at minimum of 50 drivers and do a minimum of 12 tests per year to qualify. DVS just signed another 10 year lease to stay in the same building they are in Town Square. Midway exam station will be closing in the fall and moving operations into Town Square also. Diabetic waivers have been a little confusing for some. If a driver gets 2 letters from the State that seems to be the same information, they are not. One is for the class D part of the license and the other is for commercial driving. If you are doing license checks for class D drivers you must have a signed release to do the MVR. Anyone wanting to place an ad in the next CDL manual must have the information to the department by April 1. There is another bill that is expected to

TTT- Ray Kroll Dates are July 15-18 2008 in Hinckley. After today's meeting those interested will tour the casino facilities for suggestions for TTT in July. The Dispatchers training will probably be held on Tuesday during the TTT as a separate piece. Continued on Page 5.


5

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-253-3000 or 800-777-4896.

MN School Bus Safety Committee Minutes Continued from Page 4. Greg Liedl from Bemidji, has given space to store the wealth of information that Ray has so graciously kept for the group over the past many years. This will happen sometime in the near future. Thank you Greg and most importantly thank you Ray for doing this for so long. Poster contest- Cindy McKay Posters are due by April 4. Information is also be on the MAPT and MSBOA websites soon. The theme is 'Avoid Harm Obey the Stop Arm'. Because so many people will be at an Edulog conference for the next meeting we voted to move the next meeting to Tuesday April 22nd in Spring Lake Park. This will be our poster judging day. Rodeo - Sherry Case This years Road-eo will be held Saturday May 31st at Holly Angels / St Peters (67th & Nicollet). Judges letters will be going out this week. Still looking for some equipment to be used that day. Information will be going onto the web sites soon.

Certified Trainers - Sherry Case has gotten some response back from the letters she sent to trainers. MAPT - Mike Severson/Ray Kroll The new pre-trip inspection DVD is on a fast track and hopefully will be done by TTT this summer. The group will meet again on March 25th in St. Cloud. Ray Kroll, Cindy Johnson, Emily White, Scott Dahlin and Joe Schneider met about the Type 3 training video. It was decided that this would be more cost effective to do in a power point presentation. They will meet again on April 3. Ray received a message form David Peterson about Security issues for school buses. Next Meeting Tuesday April 22 in Spring Lake Park Respectfully submitted, Emily White


6 Fuel Clause and Contract Negotiations from Page 1 Sample 3: There will be a fuel escalator clause based on a fuel cost of $______ per gallon, inclusive of all applicable taxes. For each ten cents per gallon above the $____base, $______ will be added to the daily bus rate. In the event fuel prices decline below $_____ per gallon, a reduction of $____ per day will occur. The fuel escalator will be based on the average price in a given month. The monthly price will be based on the average price of actual purchases.

Sample 4: The Contractor is responsible for consistently purchasing fuel at the lowest cost possible. District will verify the cost of diesel fuel by contacting local vendors for price quotations from time to time during the term of the contract. If it is determined that the Contractor has failed to purchase fuel at the lowest price, the low price determined by the District will be the basis for price adjustment. If the cost of fuel increases or decreases by more than 5% over or under the predetermined price, the Contract will be adjusted. If the cost of diesel fuel is higher than $______ in any month of the contract, the District will compensate the Contractor for the increased cost per gallon. If the cost of diesel fuel is lower than $_______ in any month of the contract, the Contractor will compensage the District for the decreased cost per gallon. The Contractor is responsible for reporting both the name of the vendor and price paid for diesel fuel on the closest business day to the fifteenth of each month for each month of the contract. This price shall be the Pump Price. Fuel Adjustment will be calculated by the Contractor for the period from the first of the month until the last day of the month and submitted to the District on the fifteenth of the subsequent month.

Sample 5: Contractor’s compensation shall be adjusted annually to reflect actual changes in Contractor’s cost of fuel. Contractor’s “Base Fuel Cost” shall be based on the Lundberg Survey pricing for the area on the start date of the contract for gasoline and diesel, in each case inclusive all applicable taxes. Each year Contractor’s invoice shall include an adjustment for increases or decreases in fuel costs calculated by multiplying the number of gallons of fuel purchased by contractor by the difference between the appropriate base fuel cost and average price per gallon fuel paid during the previous year. If there is a significant increase or decrease in fuel cost during a school year, Contractor will provide documentation of such and present adjusted rates.

Sample 6: The Contractor’s daily bus rate and per mile rate shall be computed from a base diesel fuel cost of $_______ per gallon. This base rate excludes the federal (and state if applicable) fuel tax. The exclusion of these taxes, in calculating the fuel base, shall reamin in effect as long as the Contractor qualifies for tax-exempt status in the purchase of motor fuel product. Contractor’s daily bus rate and per mile rate shall be adjusted on each monthly invoice for the fuel clause rate. If the purchase price of any fuel used exceed the price identified as the base, District shall, on a dollar for dollar basis, reimburse the Contractor the actual amount in excess of the base. If the purchase price of any fuel used falls below the price identified as the base, Contractor shall reimburse the District on a dollar for dollar basis for the actual amount under the base. Proof of fuel purchased and used in the performance of the contract shall be required on a monthly basis for all buses used under the contract. Any school bus or vehicle used for both this District and other purposes must be broken out separately from the main fuel invoice and the documentation for the time and costs for fuel associated specific to the District must be provided. District reserves the right to approve or disapprove fuel costs related to a bus where costs are not adequately documented. Ed. Note: Hopefully you can use these sample fuel escalators and adjust them to your own company’s needs and negotiate in the next contract with your school district.


News and Views

7

A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

FINANCIAL DILEMMA

By Jim Koonst, Stier Bus Service, Belle Plaine, MN

During this legislative session we are hearing bleak reports on the state's financial situation. We are now nearing a billion dollar deficit. County governments are struggling to balance their budgets. Cities are raising taxes. School districts all over the state need referendums along with budget cuts to balance their budgets. And, our property taxes are always on the rise. Resources for increased income are dwindling. Yet, the cost of operating our business is continually on the rise. Increased cost of fuel, insurance, labor, utilities, equipment etc, etc, etc, is enough to make your head spin. Is it ever going to stop? Not likely. We really have a dilemma on our hands. School Districts seem to want more for less. What are we going to do? Focus on our core mission and purpose: The safety of the students we transport every day will always be our #1 priority. As we do this, we must: a) continue to train our drivers, always working to improve on our curriculum; b) continue to work together with our superintendents and school board members to continue a safe and efficient pupil transportation system; and c) work with our legislators to enact laws that are in the best interest of student safety and not self-serving. Create more efficiency in our work: Since new money will be scarce, we need to look inward. Taking a good hard look at our productivity will perhaps reveal some inefficiencies, and maybe force us to think "Out of the Box." At the same time, we need focus our training and leadership development on enhancing our customer service. As you can see, we have plenty of hard work ahead of us. Going through this financial dilemma does create some hard times, forcing us to make some difficult decisions. Once this dilemma passes, if it ever does, we'll be stronger and better for it. Have a Great & Safe Spring!

Attention All Members: At our upcoming 60th Celebration, we will be having a Bus Memorablia/Company Display for members to see during the conference. Charles Peterson, Kottkes’ Bus Service, Inc. is planning this particular event. He would like all company jackets, hats, bus photos, bus toys, or any other bit of memorabilia to be sent to: Charles Peterson Kottkes’ Bus Service, Inc. 13625 Jay Street NW Andover, MN 55304 These items will be returned to you after the conference. If you have questions, please call Charles Peterson at 763-755-3100 ext. 20.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8

School Bus Safety Folders and Coloring Books Available to Order The MSBOA School Bus Safety Folders and Coloring Books are available to order at this time. The coloring books are in stock and ready to ship immediately. The folders must be ordered in advance by July 15th to ensure your company personalization and delivery before school begins in September. Prices remain the same as in past years: Folders are $.58 each and Coloring Books are $.42 each. Order forms are in this issue of The MSBOA Operator or on www.msboa.com. Get your orders in NOW!

Legislative Update Continued from Page 3. troopers and 15 school bus inspectors, and would be responsible for all school bus inspections, as well as data collection relating to the safety of the buses and the qualifications of the drivers. Many of the Olseen provisions have been included in SF3223 (D-Murphy) the Senate's omnibus transportation policy bill. The Morrow bill is not moving this year. Pupil Transportation Service Agreements Legislation that would allow for regional pupil transportation services has been introduced and is moving in the Senate. SF3789-Bonoff (D-Minnetonka) and HF4044S.Peterson (D-New Hope) would allow School District 287, Hennepin and Wright Counties to enter into an agreement to establish a cooperative organization to provide pupil transportation services. Similar Bonoff language was added to SF1475Stumpf (D-Plummer). This is the big budget bill which is currently in conference committee. Special thanks to Fred Lenz who came to St. Paul on April 14. We visited with a number of legislators-most of whom know Fred as "Mr. Lenz." We urge all MSBOA members to contact their representative and senator urging them to support the OlseenBigham bill and the Olseen-Morrow bill, but strongly oppose the Dibble-Davnie bill. The legislators have been hearing from MSBOA members and it is helping! We need to continue the pressure and continue the grassroots efforts. Together we can still win this battle! The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, is interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that you believe the MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com.

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

Protecting Confidential Information From Inappropriate Disclosure Many employers are rightfully concerned about disclosure and misuse of confidential information. Many third-parties ask employers for data, and sometimes employees or others disclose, take or use employer data inappropriately. This data can be misused to the detriment of the employer's business through unfair competition, and employees can be subject to identity theft and other abuse of their data. Employers, too, can be liable to employees for inappropriate access to or disclosure of personal employee information. How can employers protect their critical business information and the confidential information of their employees (such as medical information, home addresses, garnishments, background check data, and social security numbers, to mention a few) from unnecessary disclosure and misuse? The following are some recommendations to minimize the risk to your business of avoidable and expensive information disclosures: 1. Treat confidential information as confidential. Stamp it "confidential," limit access, use and distribution internally, lock the files, and follow the "need to know" principle in determining who gets the information. 2. Have a well drafted confidentiality policy in your employee handbook and get employees, independent contractors, consultants and others with data access to sign off on it. 3. External disclosures of confidential information should be restricted to your own attorneys, insurers and others who genuinely need access, use a confidentiality agreement or expectation statement with "friendly" data requesters who aren't bound to protect the confidentiality of the information by law. 4. Use confidentiality agreements, expectation statements or court orders when disclosure is necessary with court and agency proceedings and in business negotiations. 5. Don't give confidential information to government agencies (which are required to disclose most data to third parties) unless you are obligated (or have a good business reason) to do so, and in those cases, follow #1 and #4 above. 6. When you must submit business and employee information to government regulators, public contracting officers, general or prime contractors, architects, or engineers, submit only what you must; and, follow #1 and #4 above. 7.

In particular, if you become obligated to submit

employee information to a public agency, omit unnecessary employee information from such disclosure. 8. Don't give unions (or their various front organizations) who don't represent your employees any information, since you have no obligation to do so, but discuss any correspondence or handbills to or about your business from unions with experience counsel to ensure you can defend yourself. 9. Remind terminating employees in writing (along with their COBRA notice and other termination formalities) of your confidentiality policy, and recover any information and documents, including computer data, at that time. 10. Finally, promptly investigate any situation in which confidential information of the business or your employees is accessed, disclosed or used inappropriately (whether internally or externally), and respond appropriately. Failure to do so may waive any ability you have to protect that information in the future, as well as risk liability. Careful preparation to protect your business's confidential information, and that of your employees, can help you protect your business.


10 60th Anniversary Committee Holds Planning Meeting at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Resort We can tell you that Ruttger’s is still the same resort you remember. The food was delicious and plentiful! The staff was attentive and eager to please – even though we were there on the first day they opened. They have added some beautiful new rooms and many of the existing accomodations have been updated or remodeled. The entire resort has also gone smoke free. We have planned some fantastic activities for our group. It will be fun for everyone!! In addition to our normal events like Transportation Specialist Awards ceremony and Golf Scramble, our very generous vendors have many surprises and gifts planned for our association’s anniversary. We also are planning a seminar from our association attorney, Tom Revnew, on Monday morning. Tom has experience with the DOT and is quickly learning all the ins and outs of our industry. He will be speaking about driver qualification files. You may recall that the state inspectors will be inspecting your records to make sure your files are in compliance as a result of the Legislative Audit earlier in the year. We have already heard reports of visits in the metro area. If you are unsure about your driver’s files or even if you want to brush up on your knowledge, make plans to attend. Our board of directors is very proud of their ability to offer this seminar at a low cost for you. We’ve seen similar seminars that cost more than double. Sgt. Paul Davis and Sgt. Duane Bartles of the State Patrol also plan to address the group on Tuesday.

Don’t Forget...In honor of the:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary

60 Years of Safety, Friendship, & Success

We are planning to put together a company and association memory book. Please send photos and company histories as soon as possible to the: MSBOA Office • 10606 Hemlock St. NW • Annandale, MN 55302.

Upcoming Minnesota Safety Council Conference in May The Minnesota Safety Council is holding its annual Minnesota Safety & Health Conference May 14-16 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. There are many sessions offered that may be of interest to our members including: Drug & Alcohol Recognition Training for supervisors, Hours-of-Service Regulations and Commercial Driver Qualification Records. Captain Ken Urquardt and Dan Drexler, Division Administrator USDOT/FMCSA, will do a presentation called “Minnesota Crash Picture from 10,000 Feet” which will review updated commercial motor carrier statistics. The cost of the three day conference is $595 for members and $695 for non-members. For more information, see www.minnesotasafetycouncil.org Ed. Note. We will be having the DPS and our own Commercial Driver Qualification Records Seminar at the Summer Conference in June.

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


How Am I Doing?

11 A Self Check Test for drivers as we approach the end of the school year.

This Self-Check was supplied to MSBOA by Brent Orr, Vision Transportation Assistant Manager in Elk River. Pass it out to your drivers as another way to keep them thinking about their performance. Answer Yes or No to the following questions: 1. I place the “Bus Empty” sign in the back of my vehicle after every route, shuttle or trip. 2. I do not use student assistants or student monitors for disciplinary or any other responsibilities on my vehicle. 3. I pre-trip my vehicle according to state and company policy. 4. No matter what vehicle I drive, I fuel when the guage is at half, and I clean the bus after routes. 5. My seating chart is up to date and I have my students seated by age or grade as required by school district or company policy. 6. My socializing with other drivers at schools does not cause my students to wait to board my vehicle or to board without my supervision. 7. I do not idle my vehicle but, if I ever need to, I never do for more than 3 minutes at any location. 8. I train my students to go to their assigned seat upon boarding and to remain seated while on the vehicle. I enforce appropriate student management. 9. I know my student’s names, I show them appropriate respect, I greet them morning and afternoon and I demonstrate that I care for them and their safety. 10. My vehicle is secure and I have the keys in my possession any time I leave the driver seat while on route. 11. At the schools I park far enough from the curb that students must step down to the pavement and then up to the curb or vehicle steps. 12. I obey all posted speed limits and drive below the posted speed limit in housing areas. 13. I use proper radio ettiquette, I use the radio only when necessary. 14. I park my vehicle in the appropriate, assigned parking slot at all times. 15. I keep current on all required paperwork related to driving. 16. I follow my route as established by dispatch. I use the appropriate from to communicate directly with dispatch if I feel a change on my route should be considered. 17. I train my students to safely board and leave my vehicle. This includes proper distance away from the bus, not returning to the bus, and making eye contact with me before crossing the roadway.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events MN School Bus Safety Road-E-O Saturday, May 31, 2008 Academy of Holy Angels Richfield, MN 2008 MSBOA Annual Summer Conference 60th Anniversary Celebration June 8-10, 2008 Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge Deerwood, MN Train-the-Trainer July 15-18, 2008 Grand Casino Hinckley, MN Ray Kroll: 763-391-6656

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MN School Bus Safety Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Remember to register for the:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success

Registration materials were sent to you in a special mailing and are included in this newsletter. You can also find the information online at www.msboa.com

This is an event you do not want to miss!


Volume 38 Issue 6 • June 2008

2008 Joe Beaton Scholarship Winners Congratulations to 2 Applicants Chosen for $1000.00 Scholarships: Dan Nimlos and Lynn Vanasse. Each winner has their award winning essay in this issue of The Operator. Both winners this year are currently driving school bus for Kottkes’ Bus Service in Andover and attending college.

No Higher Calling by Dan Nimlos As a 22-year old, many things have had a profound influence on my life thus far. However, none have had a greater impact on my future than my role as a school bus driver. This job has affected my work ethic, my sense of civic duty, my social skills, my outlook on my future career, and my compassion for people. Simply put, being a school bus driver has changed everything. To preface, allow me to shed some light on where I was prior to this job. I never graduated high school, for a variety of reasons. I blamed it on my nature as a perfectionist, an attention-deficit one at that. The truth was, I lacked the discipline, even though I understood the material perfectly fine. I felt uncomfortable dealing with most children, and even more so those with special needs. My work life consisted of several inconsequential retail jobs in a row, none lasting more than a few months. For a while, I was unemployed aside from the small amount of money I was paid to lead worship at a church. I was mentoring a young man in high school at the time and he relied on me for rides to and from work, church, and school. One afternoon, as I was driving him home, we passed the local school bus company like we had so many times before. Glancing out my window, I saw that they had a Now Hiring sign. On a whim, I stopped in the next day and was offered a job. Seeing as how much free time I had during the day, I jumped in feet first and was working a full day’s worth of shifts, including middays and after-school activities. Immediately, the way I saw my job started to change. Where previous jobs had left me burned out and simply working for a paycheck, there was a newfound sense of responsibility. The safety of the students, getting them to school on time, ensuring the bus was a positive environment - it was up to me. I was now working for something other than myself. As time passed, I began to form bonds with many of the students. I was learning how to relate to the different age groups, as I drove high school, middle school, and elementary routes. We would talk music and movies on the high school routes, jokes and Disney TV shows on the elementary...and relationship drama at the middle school. There was never a dull moment. It was evident that some of them came from less-than-ideal home lives by the way they behaved. Rather than simply play the role of the disciplinarian, I began to take a special interest in these students, going out of my way to be friendly when they were getting on and off the bus and conversing with them whenever possible. However, my favorite bus route I’ve ever driven was the kindergarten special needs kids during the middle of the day. Any fears or uneasiness I had about the job disappeared within the first week. One student in particular stands out to me. Her name was Abby, and she was 5 years old. (She would tell me this frequently.) Every day after school, the teachers would bring the kids out to where the buses were waiting. When she saw the bus, Abby’s face would light up and she would pull at her teacher’s hand, trying to get to the bus as fast as she could. She would greet me with as much enthusiasm as I’ve ever seen in a 5-year -old, which anyone can tell you is nearly boundless, and would always want to give me a hug when her mom picked her up at the end. Even on the days when she was harder to deal with, there was patience I had never had before. “You should be a teacher, “ Abby’s teacher remarked one day. “We always need more people like you.” Students like Abby make my job worth it.

Continued on Page 6. INSIDE: REGISTRATION MATERIALS FOR THE MSBOA SUMMER CONFERENCE!


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302.

CONGRATULATIONS MSBOA!!! It is time to celebrate!!!! Reason #1 For those of you who may not have heard MSBOA has survived another legislative session. I say survive, as it appeared in the middle of the session all the way until the very end that the SEIU and Dibble had gotten provisions though both the House and Senate that were headed for conference committee. But in conference committee all the provisions were striped and disappeared. I want to thank all the members who called, wrote and emailed their representatives. I had heard from several representatives that MSBOA member had contacted them. I can't stress how important it is to have a relationship with your representatives and that our voice is heard when needed. When called upon we ALL need to do our part. All of our business is getting more difficult to operate and we need all the help we can get. I would also like to personally acknowledge and thank the effort that Gary Botzek, Gaylen Lenz, Fred Lenz and Shelly Jonas and all the members who took time to show support. Reason #2 to celebrate is we (MSBOA) is hosting a gala affair this June and celebrating 60 years of Safety, Friendship & Success. This is promising to be a grand event and a huge milestone worth celebrating. If you haven't already made your plans to attend please do so. Reasons #3 Schools out. What more can I say? That in it self is enough reason to celebrate. It has been a long school year. Time to recharge, relax and enjoy life for a while.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Hope to see you all at Ruttger’s this June.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

The 2008 legislature adjourned on May 19 and went home! Let the summer begin! Time to cut the grass and get the grill out! The following is an update and status report on school bus issues of interest to MSBOA members: The Dibble/Davnie/SEIU Bills A lot of positive progress has occurred since my last article on this topic. As you may recall the amended Dibble bill language (SF3078) was added to the Senate Education Policy bill. The more offensive Davnie bill language (HF3469) was added to the House Transportation Policy bill. These bills, sponsored by the SEIU, would establish state policy regarding private student transportation requirements for contracts between school districts and the bus contractor. The bills also would have required that bus drivers be paid for all the time they are either conducting a pre-trip inspection and daily routes. The bills would also allow bus driver the right to refuse to drive a bus that they have decided is unsafe. MSBOA opposed and testified a number of times against both of these bills. We were joined in opposition by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Minnesota School Boards Associations. At each opportunity MSBOA testified against these bills as unnecessary, redundant and discriminatory. Unfunded mandates on school boards with little or no proof that the students on the buses would be any safer then they already are! We also raised the point of privacy for our drivers, as well as privacy for our companies in a competitive world! Note that the 40% of the buses and drivers that transport students in district owned buses would not have to provide/report any of the information being required of MSBOA members. We offered amendments to have these provisions removed from bills. The Dibble/Davnie language got all the way to conference committee. With the assistance of a number of key legislators, the language was removed from both of the final conference committee reports. Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Throughout our opposition to the Dibble/Davnie bills we hung our hats on the better approach; namely, the re-establishment of an Office of Pupil Transportation Safety in the Department of Public Safety. SF3535-Olseen (D-Harris) and HF3910-Morrow (D-St. Peter) offered a positive alternative to the Dibble-Davnie approach of private contractors reporting unwanted and unnecessary driver information to the school districts. The Olseen-Morrow bills would re-establish an Office of Pupil Transportation Safety in the Department of Public Safety, Division of the State Patrol. The new division would consist of a director, three troopers and 15 school bus inspectors, and will be responsible for all school bus inspections, as well as data collection relating to the

safety of the buses and the qualifications of the drivers. Many of the Olseen/Morrow provisions have been included in the final version of the Transportation Policy Bill (HF3800). Start up money will be provided from the trunk highway fund. Recommendations regarding school bus safety, driver training, etc. will be from a stakeholders group that includes private bus contractors will be provided to the legislature. A report is due January 15, 2009. Pupil Transportation Service Agreements Legislation that would have allowed for regional pupil transportation services was also removed in conference committee. SF3789-Bonoff (D-Minnetonka) and HF4044-S.Peterson (D-New Hope) would have allowed School District 287, Hennepin and Wright Counties, to enter into an agreement to establish a cooperative organization to provide pupil transportation services. MSBOA and others opposed this approach and provision. Type III Vans Legislation designed to tighten Type III van licensing qualifications was passed and signed into act. Chapter 271 is the result of legislation authored by Senator Olseen (D-Harris) and Representative Karla Bigham (D-Cottage Grove). As of September 1, 2008, Type III SERVICES, INC. van drivers will be subP.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 ject to a complete phys(800) 279-2374 ical examination, background check, drug and Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: alcohol testing, and training requirements. EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Type III school bus drivers will continue to Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) need to hold a class D 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing driver's license but not Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance a school bus endorsement. The new law also INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING prohibits Type III drivers from using a cell Mutual Funds phone while operating IRA’s Annuities the vehicle effective Private Retirement Plans August 1.

Black Financial

Continued on page 8.

Life Insurance Estate Planning

Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee held on April 22, 2008 in Spring Lake Park. MDE - Bob Fischer The Legislative audit is complete. There were some suggestions from this audit. A sample contract is being developed for those district's choosing to use it. A list of best practices is recommended. The issues committee meets the 4th Wednesday of every month and will be reviewing the recommendations. These are just suggestions and not mandated. The 2008 Special Education School Bus Driver and Assistant awards were announced. The top three in each category are as follows: Driver: 1st place Sharon Reimers First Student, Oakdale 2nd place Barb Thomson, First Student Oakdale 3rd place Otis Easley Jr, First Student Golden valley Assistant: 1st place Alice Jones, Frist Student Oakdale 2nd place Deb Hase, District 196 3rd place Luella Buerken, First Student Oakdale DVS - Deb Carlson The next third party tester's class is full and will take place May 19-23. The Chaska exam station will be closed for 6 months for remodeling beginning April 28. A reminder that the Midway Station will be closing and moved downtown. There will be a lot of changes in St. Paul with this move. Waivers for background checks do take some time. This has to go through several people and may take several weeks. Be patient.

It is also being proposed that CDL permits become a plastic card that would be issued for 6 months and drivers would have to wait 30 days to take the driving test. Permit holders would also be covered under CDL laws if this takes effect and a state may accept other State permits. Third party re-certification may be postponed until fall. Deb is in the process of hiring someone for her former job who would be in charge of this. TTT- Ray Kroll Dates are July 15-18 2008 in Hinckley. Ray had the draft brochure for us to review. The Dispatchers training will be held on Tuesday afternoon during the TTT as a separate track. Advanced training will have the option to come Wednesday afternoon for the session with Craig Zablocki. He will present 'Unleash Your Creative Spirit, Lighten Up and Laugh for the Health of It'. Cost has not been determined yet. Poster contest- Cindy McKay Judging took place before today's meeting. Results were not available yet but will be sent when received. Rodeo - Sherry Case This years Road-eo will be held Saturday May 31st at Holy Angels / St Peters (67th & Nicollet) We still need more judges. If interested email Sherry Case at runningfreenow @yahoo.com.

Issuing is very current at only about 7 days if all of the needed information is in.

MAPT - Mike Severson and Ray Kroll The new pre-trip inspection DVD hopefully will be done by TTT this summer. It is being produced by Look Production.

Diabetic waivers must meet the peripheral vision requirements. Drivers with waivers will now receive a letter that the waiver has been approved. They just started doing this a few weeks ago.

Continued on Page 5.

The fingerprinting charge from the BCA is now $24.25.

Proposed rule making is asking for entry level driver training.


5

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-253-3000 or 800-777-4896.

MN School Bus Safety Committee Minutes Continued from Page 4. ÂŽ

CAT C7 ACERT ENGINE

The Perfect Fit for School Buses Features advanced emissions technology that exceeds clean air goals without sacrificing engine performance and reliability.  Mid range, 190-300 hp  Up to 4% better fuel economy, based on new Cat common rail fuel system  Leading edge electronics  Best life-to-overhaul  Easy maintenance  Cat 5-year warranty for school bus operators  Extended service plans, up to 10 years Call Greg Ross for more information.

Shakopee, MN

952.887.4582 • 888.320.4292

New Business: There was some discussion about legislation on Type 3 drivers and what possible requirements may be added. One item is drug testing. Discussion about a bus that was rear-ended making a sweetheart (unauthorized) stop. Also discussion about a student that was brushed by a car passing the bus on the right hand side. The bus had a camera that caught this. The student was OK but the car driver said he passed because there was no stop sign on the right. Respectfully submitted, Emily White Next Meeting Tuesday May 21


6 Joe Beaton Scholarship Winners Continued from Page 1. Three years and hundreds of students later, I realize how this job has been an agent of change in my entire life. This summer, I completed my GED and began college classes in the fall. My goal is now to become a teacher; I believe there is no higher calling than making a difference in the lives of students - I’ll concede there are some ties, but none higher. I hope you will consider me for this transportation scholarship. Thank you very much.

Essay by Lynn Vanasse Driving a school bus has been a great job for me. It was a job that enabled me to be there for my kids as they grew through their adolescent years. It not only allowed me to contribute to my family’s income, but it also gave me ample amounts of time to spend with my kids when I was not behind the wheel. Think about it. What other job gives a person the same days off as their kids (including their whole summer vacation)? It was perfect. They were often in after school activities and I was usually done with my job soon enough to punch out and still get to their activities on time. Driving a bus even enabled me to volunteer to drive their swim team to meets. I was the lucky mom who got to know my kids’ friends and teammates up close and personal. What a great deal! But that wasn’t all. One of the best things aobut being a bus driver is that, in small ways, I could make a difference in the lives of the children that were entrusted to my care. Of course, transporting the children safely is always our number one job, but for me it was so much more than that. It was about the kids. I loved how being a bus driver gave me a unique opportunity to interact with and encourage them. Simple things like greeting them by name with a welcoming smile every morning as they boarded the bus laid a foundation for building many rewarding relationships. I wanted my “bus kids” to know that they were special and that what they thought and felt mattered. I always looked at them eye to eye as they got on the bus to see how they were doing so that, if something was wrong, I could let them know that I cared about them and their “situation”. Sometimes I would encourage them to talk with their teacher or the school nurse about what was going on with them but often they just needed someone to listen and to show them care and kindness. Occasionally, the small ways that I could impact the children got bigger. One of my “bus kids” a fourth grade girl who I will call “Anna,” has a tougher life than most. She lives in a “crack house” and it seems that she is often left to care for herself without the normal adult guidance that a fourth grader would normally have. Even though her driveway is around a quarter of a mile long, rarely does anyone come to the bus stop with her. Her clothes are often dirty and her hair is unkempt. At the beginning of the year, she was avoided by the kids around her and sat in a seat alone. But not anymore. The kids now want to sit by her and she has fun joining with them, just being a normal kid. How, you ask, did this transformation come about? Well, let’s just say that a bus driver is in a prime position to lead by example and the kids have been quick to pick up on my cues. On wintery Minnesota mornings, she looks so cold when we pick her up, but the other kids on the bus and I make sure that when Anna gets on, shivering and cold, they always make sure she gets a spot right by the heater so that she can begin to warm up. The other kids are finding joy in giving to Anna. We often fail to see the impact that we can have on others in life. Being a school bus driver has enabled me to see how small acts of kindness to a child over the years can bolster their self confidence and their ability to see ways that they, too, can make a difference. I would like to leave you with an anecdotal story of how small things can multiply in impact. When I was a new bus driver, I needed a way to keep the kids quiet when the bus had to stop at a railroad crossing. I told my elementary kids a little story that worked to keep them quiet then and for years to follow. I let them in on a little “secret.” During the first week of school, I informed them that, if they wanted to have good luck, they could simply touch a certain small screw on the bus window frame and hold their breath while crossing the railroad tracks. Since you cannot hold your breath and breathe and talk at the same time, the bus was instantly quiet. For eight years running, I have had the quietest bus in the fleet whenever we cross the railroad tracks. The real suprise, however, came this year when I was driving the H.S. girls’ volleyball team to a match. None of the girls on the volleyball team had ever been on one of bus routes so I was especially surprised when I noticed them all reaching for the little screw on the window frame and holding their breath as we crossed the tracks. I asked the girl sitting closest to me what they were doing. She replied with assurance, “Don’t you know that you will have good luck when you do that? We always do it on our way to our matches.”


News and Views

7

A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

Weathering the Storm Charles M. Peterson, Kottkes Bus Service. Andover, MN The past year has been as unpredictable as the weather forecast. With the change of seasons we have all had to make adjustments with the difficult economic conditions. The cost of fuel has become an enormous burden. Statistics show the national average cost of diesel fuel has increased 33% since the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. The transportation industry will have to continually find ways to control these costs. Rerouting, reducing idle time and adjusting driving habits are a few ideas to help lower fuel consumption. Adapting defensive driving techniques could potentially reduce collisions, maintenance expenses and also fuel charges. Any little adjustment can have a positive effect for any company. In the months to come, I feel confident that we will persevere. I believe that private contractors have everything to gain by joining the NSTA. Becoming a member enables us to be more in control and united as a group. I can't stress how important this organization is to our industry. As we look forward to each approaching season, we also look forward to the changes they bring. We have the opportunity to find creative ways to implement change. Without challenge we often become complacent and just do things "the same old way". The greatest achievements can be accomplished when we are faced with these challenges. I hope that everyone can take time during the summer months to relax and enjoy life. 'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

Attention All Members: At our upcoming 60th Celebration, we will be having a Bus Memorablia/Company Display for members to see during the conference. Charles Peterson, Kottkes’ Bus Service, Inc. is planning this particular event. He would like all company jackets, hats, bus photos, bus toys, or any other bit of memorabilia to be sent to: Charles Peterson Kottkes’ Bus Service, Inc. 13625 Jay Street NW Andover, MN 55304 These items will be returned to you after the conference. If you have questions, please call Charles Peterson at 763-755-3100 ext. 20.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8

School Bus Safety Folders and Coloring Books Available to Order The MSBOA School Bus Safety Folders and Coloring Books are available to order at this time. The coloring books are in stock and ready to ship immediately. The folders must be ordered in advance by July 15th to ensure your company personalization and delivery before school begins in September. Prices remain the same as in past years: Folders are $.58 each and Coloring Books are $.42 each. Order forms are in this issue of The MSBOA Operator or on www.msboa.com. Get your orders in NOW!

Legislative Update Continued from Page 3. However, a Type III van operator that is employed by a school or school district will continue to be able to drive with a class D driver's license without a school bus endorsement, but will be subject to the training requirements. This legislation is based on recommendations from the Legislative Auditor's January 2008 Report and highlighted by the Forest Lake van accident of May 2007 that killed a 14-old girl and the 30-year old driver. Stronger Biodiesel Fuel Standards Included in the omnibus Agriculture and Veterans Policy bill were new biodiesel standards to be phased in over the next seven years. Current standards require that diesel fuel sold in Minnesota contain at least two percent biodiesel. Under the new law, the requirement will be five percent by May 1, 2009, ten percent in 2012 and 20 percent in 2015. When the 20 percent standard is in place, it will be effective from May through September. During the remainder of the year, the minimum requirement will be set at 15 percent. I believe our efforts were effective in St. Paul this year due to an increase in grassroots lobbying. Calls and emails from MSBOA legislative committee members, board members and general membership to legislators had a positive impact. Legislators told me so! Thanks to all the folks that came to St. Paul to testify and watch how "sausage is made", and to all the folks that called or emailed their local legislators time and time again! We can learn from that model and will build upon it. I look forward to seeing a lot of you at Ruttgers in early June. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, is always interested in your ideas, feedback, and input. If you have thought that you believe the MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com.

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

A Labor Law Refresher: The Risks of Replacing A Unionized Contractor. The Teamsters and the SEIU clearly have set their eyes on organizing the school bus transportation industry. As part of their organizing tactics, the unions often times have employees vocally criticize employer policies and procedures. When an employer takes disciplinary action or discharges employees for such action, they often face potential liability. Further, an employer can face potential liability for refusing to hire individuals who criticize their policies. A recent decision involving Five Star Transportation highlights a contractor's potential exposure for refusing to hire applicants because of "protected concerted activity." Five Star Transportation v. NLRB, (1st Cir. 2008). As a private bus company, Five Star submitted the lowest bid for a school district's 2003-2006 contract by $300,000 over the existing contractor, First Student. In response to Five Star's bid, the union, which represented First Student's employees, held a meeting with the existing drivers to discuss the negative implications of wages, benefits, and work conditions if they were later hired by Five Star. Through the union's encouragement, the drivers sent letters to the school district criticizing Five Star and expressing concerns about retaining current wage and benefit levels and maintaining a safe working environment. After the drivers sent the letters, Five Star was awarded the contract and began its hiring process. Five Star refused to hire eleven of First Student's seventeen drivers because they had sent letters to the school district criticizing its company. Some of the letters disparaged the company while other letters expressed concern about whether Five Star would pay the same wages and benefits to the drivers. In response, the union filed unfair labor practices charges claiming that the Five Star violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by refusing to hire the drivers because of their union activities. In defending itself against the unfair labor practice charge, Five Star argued that that it did not violate the law because (1) at the time the drivers wrote the letters, they were not First Star employees; (2) the letters were not protected "concerted" activity under the NLRA because they disparaged the company, and (3) the drivers' actions were not protected because they were not part of an ongoing labor dispute. The Court rejected each of Five Star's arguments, finding among other things, that although the drivers were not Five Star employees at the time of the dispute, they were entitled to protection under the law. Second, the Court found a number of the letters were concerted protected activity because they were in furtherance of a group concern (i.e., wages and

benefits). Finally, the Court found that the text of the letters also supported the existence of a labor dispute because the drivers had a reasonable belief that they would not be as well remunerated by Five Star if they were later hired. Accordingly, the Court also found that the letters "were reasonably necessary to carry out [the driver's] lawful aim of safeguarding their then-current employment conditions." As a result of the Court's decision, Five Star was required to rehire six of the drivers, who sent letters to the District complaining about the impact Five Star would have on their wages and benefits. In addition, the Court ordered Five Star to pay the six drivers up to five years worth of backpay. Since Five Star established that the five other drivers had disparaged it in the letter writing campaign, the Court concluded that it did not violate the law by refusing to hire those individuals. Practice Pointer: It is not unusual for employees to complain about terms and conditions of employment. When such complaints are raised as a collective concern, employers should be prepared to address them proactively. Further, before taking disciplinary action and/or terminating employees for collective complaints about working conditions, such as wages and benefits, employers should consult with competent labor counsel.


10 Don’t Forget...In honor of the:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary

60 Years of Safety, Friendship, & Success

We are planning to put together a company and association memory book. Please send photos and company histories as soon as possible to the: MSBOA Office • 10606 Hemlock St. NW • Annandale, MN 55302.

Enova Systems and IC Bus Execute Long Term Agreement Press Release TORRANCE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Enova Systems, a production company in an emerging industry and a leading developer of proprietary electric, hybrid and fuel cell digital power management systems, announced today that it has entered into a Long Term Supply Agreement with IC Bus, a wholly owned affiliate of Navistar, Inc. and the nation’s largest school bus manufacturer. The Supply Agreement guarantees that Enova’s proprietary Post Transmission Parallel Hybrid Electric drive system will be used in IC Bus’ hybrid school buses. IC Bus has forecast significant market penetration of its hybrid buses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the countries included in the terms of the Agreement. Additionally, IC Bus and Enova are working closely to evaluate the hybrid bus market in India. The Agreement is valued, for Enova, in excess of $120M through the 2010 calendar year. Mike Staran, Enova’s President and CEO, said, “This is a significant milestone for Enova and the entire market. We are honored that a World Leading OEM, such as IC Corporation, has chosen us as their partner to be their production supplier of Electric Drive Systems.” The hybrid school bus looks the same as a standard bus, however it is powered with new technology. The technologies were extensively evaluated at the Navistar research and technology facility in Fort Wayne, Ind. Enova’s innovative technologies have shown fuel economy improvements in excess of 70%, and emissions reductions between 20% and 40% depending on specific load and operating conditions. The hybrid school bus project features Enova's Charge Depleting (or "Plug In") or Charge Sustaining Systems. Enova’s Charge Sustaining System utilizes relatively small batteries which are maintained within a specified range of state of charge (SOC) over the entire drive cycle. Battery charge is maintained by the on-board equipment and is not normally recharged from the grid except as needed for cell balancing. The Charge Depleting (or “Plug In”) System utilizes a larger battery based on advanced battery chemistry that provides stored energy intended to be drawn down over the driving cycle and re-charged overnight to optimize fuel efficiency. “Hybrid buses provide two distinct advantages,” said John McKinney, Vice President and General Manager of IC Corporation. “With its reduced fuel use and emissions, it is environmentally friendly. Secondly, a significant increase in fuel efficiency can dramatically improve the bottom line of many businesses.” Enova’s Post Transmission hybrid drive system is proven to be a non-invasive system that requires little or no modification of the chassis, body and instrument panel. In addition, the Enova system does not intrude on the engine control or communication system. The system monitors, but does not impact the diesel engine operating parameters.

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


11 MSBOA Diamond Anniversary

60 Years of Safety, Friendship, & Success

LAST CHANCE! LAST CHANCE! LAST CHANCE! We are quickly approaching the highly anticipated MSBOA Diamond Anniversary Celebration. Much preparation has been put into this event to make it an enjoyable, memorable, fantastic event! If you have not registered with MSBOA, please do so immediately. You do not want to miss out on a celebration of this magnitude! You may ask yourself what is different this year at the conference as opposed to past conferences. Well, for one, many of our past members and their families are planning to attend this special event. We will be having a first time wine tasting sponsored by Superior Transit Sales. After dinner, we will be having our Transportation Specialist Awards. Next, you will enjoy a bonfire event sponsored by North Central Bus Sales, at which we will be listening to music by Paul Deithelm by moonlight. The next day following a very timely and important presentation detailing your requirements as a contractor for driver’s files and drug and alcohol files, we will be having the MSBOA Safety Raffle. On Monday afternoon, we encourage members to spend the remainder of the day together in fun activities. We are offering to attendees a chef’s demonstration. You will watch the reknowned Ruttger’s Chef Terry Doux prepare a meal and dessert (you will also get to eat it!) There will be room in this demonstration for 20 people. We will also be offering for the first time, a one-hour dance class for up to 40 people. The dance instructor will be featuring 50-60’s style dances - so you will be all ready for the banquet and dance later in the evening! We will have a sign up sheet for these activities posted at registration on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Cooking and dancing not your thing? There will be card games available to play outside on the deck weather permitting, or inside. Get your Euchre or Cribbage game ON! In the evening, we will be having our President’s Reception with drinks sponsored by Dave Bakken, Wells Fargo Insurance. Get your tuxedo and that formal gown you have been waiting for a special occasion to wear out!!! During dinner, you will enjoy champagne sponsored by Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. A photographer will be set up as well for members to have a professional photo taken with their spouse/guest courtesy of Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. After dinner, there will be a special program highlighting MSBOA’s past, present and future. There is also a special surprise event on Monday evening that we are keeping under wraps. Following the program, we will have the rest of the evening to dance to Sh-Boom courtesy of Allison Transmission and Interstate Power Systems. Tuesday morning we will be holding our general business meeting and board member elections. Following the meeting, Sgt. Paul Davis and Sgt. Duane Bartels will be presenting information to the group related to the mandated changes in MN State Law for Type III drivers, and other vital information for the operation of your business.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events 2008 MSBOA Annual Summer Conference 60th Anniversary Celebration June 8-10, 2008 Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge Deerwood, MN Train-the-Trainer July 15-18, 2008 Grand Casino Hinckley, MN Ray Kroll: 763-391-6656

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MN School Bus Safety Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Remember to register for the:

MSBOA Diamond Anniversary MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success

Registration materials were sent to you in a special mailing and are included in this newsletter. You can also find the information online at www.msboa.com

This is an event you do not want to miss!


Volume 38 Issue 7 • Summer 2008

What a Celebration! At Right: Tom Merrill of Faribault Transportation is awarded with the 2008 Jim DeVeau Award.

At Left: Bill Regan of Albert Lea Bus Co., and Owatonna Bus Co., is honored with the 2008 MSBOA Lifetime Achievement Award.

The MSBOA Summer Conference kicked off in its usual way on June 8th at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge with a golf tournament. Friends, new and old, later gathered in the ballroom for Sunday evening wine tasting sponsored by Superior Transit. As always, the Transportation Specialist Awards were an emotional tribute to many deserving individuals. Due to rain, our evening under the stars ended up being held in the ballroom as well. Attendees didn’t let that hamper their fun as a few members were spotted making s’mores over candle light and improvised their own version of a campfire sing-a-long. Monday morning was spent with Tom Revnew on hiring practices and driver qualifications. In the evening, the MSBOA members dressed up for the grand event. Hoglund Bus Company sponsored picture taking and a champagne toast. The evening culminated in a walk down memory lane. It was a great tribute to the founding fathers of the MSBOA. Tom Merrill and Bill Regan received some much deserved recognition in the form of the Jim DeVeau Award and the Lifetime Achievement award. Wells Fargo/Dave Bakken sponsored a surprise diamond ring give away in honor of the MSBOA’s Diamond Anniversary. Kurt Schumann was the lucky winner. In a magnanimous gesture; he asked if anyone in the room was married 60 years because he wished to give the ring away to the couple married the closest to 60 years. Don and Jean Regan came the closest at 58 years, and Jean Regan graciously accepted the diamond ring. Sh-Boom closed the evening with a great show. There were also rumors of a Sonny and Cher sighting. Apparently Cher lives close to Duluth these days. On Tuesday morning, Captain Ken Urquhart and Sergeant Paul Davis of the State Patrol updated the members on the legislative changes of the previous session. Many members commented that being at Ruttger’s was like coming home. Look for more scenes from the summer conference in this newsletter. LOOK INSIDE FOR: NEW TYPE III DRIVER QUALIFICATIONS, BEST PRACTICES, AND MODEL CONTRACT


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA It is hard to believe but another summer has come and gone but as the old saying goes "time flies when you are having fun". One of the real scary and uncontrollable factors that is affecting and will be greatly affecting our businesses is the price of fuel. As most of us have had the foresight to protect our businesses with fuel clauses, there is nothing that is going to help up with the rising cost of transportation. I have already read several articles on how the skyrocketing fuel prices have forced many districts to change the way they transport students. What can we do to minimize the crunch? One thing I would suggest is to work toward setting a realistic fuel clause. If your fuel clause is set at $1.00 and fuel is $4.70 is this realistic? We need to make sure our public understands. Another goal we need to strive for is to improve your fuel usage. I am still amazed the times I have pulled up to a school and there a bus sits idling for 5-6 hours. We need to be the leaders. Here are some tips I found on a website that I have shared with my staff: Driving More Efficiently • Drive Sensibly Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money. Fuel Economy Benefit: 5-33% Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.18-$1.16/gallon

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Continued on page 4.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

The days are longer and the nights are warmer. Must be summer!

money will be provided from the trunk highway fund.

Now that the regular school session is over and the lighter summer routes are running, I trust MSBOA members are enjoying a little down time and spending more time at home with the family. With the price of gas, I think a lot of people are spending more time at home this summer.

Type III Vans Starting September 1 Type III van drivers will be subject to a complete physical examination, background check, drug and alcohol testing, and training requirements. Type III school bus drivers will continue to need to hold a class D driver's license but not a school bus endorsement. The new law also prohibits Type III drivers from using a cell phone while operating the vehicle. This provision is effective August 1. A Type III van operator that is employed by a school district will continue to be able to drive with a class D driver's license without a school bus endorsement, but will be subject to the training requirements. Debate continues this summer regarding the definition of normal duties versus primary job duties of school district employees. The new law exempts school district employees whose "normal duties" do not include bus driving from the new tighter type III requirements.

Summer action at the State Capitol is light-as one would expect. This November the entire House membership is up for election. Representatives will be spending their time in their districts calling at your doors and asking for your support in the fall election. The 2008 election holds a lot of excitement due to a presidential election, a US Senate race, eight congressional races and all 201 House races for the State House. MSBOA has an interest in the House elections. Many representatives and senators-even through the Senators are not up for election this year-supported us in the 2008 legislative session. We offer special thanks to Representative Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) who authored an amendment on the House floor in an attempt to remove the Davnie school bus private contractor reporting language from an omnibus transportation policy bill. While his amendment failed (on a 63-66 vote) it produced a long strong debate about school bus service and the role that private contractors play in providing those services. That debate and vote set the stage for compromise in the conference committee soon after that vote. In that conference committee Senators Steve Murphy (D-Red Wing) and Senator Rick Olseen (DHarris) worked to have the House Davnie language removed from the final bill and replaced with language establishing the new Office of Pupil Transportation Safety in the Department of Public Safety. Supporters of this plan in the conference committee included Representative Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park) and Representative Terry Morrow (D-St. Peter). Captain Ken Urquhart and his staff are in the process of setting up the new Office of Pupil Transportation Safety. The office will be headed up by a lieutenant in the State Patrol, and include fifteen school bus inspectors (up from the current 12), and three state troopers dedicated to school bus safety, training and enforcement. Also required in the office will be a shareholders group made up of represenatatives of various school bus transportation interests including the MSBOA. That advisory group is charged with making recommendations to the legislature regarding school bus safety, driver training and any other issue of importance or concern to the safe transport of school children to and from school. The first report is due January 15, 2009! Start up

Legislative Audit Recommendations The Department of Education will soon be providing school districts with a new set of Best Practices and Model Contract. These updated documents were encouraged in the 2008 Legislative Auditors Report. MSBOA participated in the development of these SERVICES, INC. two documents and P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 influenced some of the (800) 279-2374 language. However, age or mileage for bus Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: replacement language and the fuel cost EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING adjustment sharing continues to be of conCafeteria Plans (Section 125) cern to the MSBOA. 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Members are encourGroup & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance aged to obtain the final versions of these two INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING documents from the association office and Mutual Funds review them. Note IRA’s Annuities these documents are Private Retirement Plans not law or rule, but Life Insurance rather additional guidEstate Planning ance to the school districts.

Black Financial

Continued on Page 7.

Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee The Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee was held on Wednesday June 18 2008, in Osseo. Secretary's report: From last month’s minutes under new business school bus drivers need to call DPS for School Bus waivers. Approved as corrected. Type III Pre-Trip- Cindy Johnson showed the draft power point of this new training piece. With the help of the group and input from Captain Urquhart and Sgt Davis several changes were made. Most were because of the new legislation concerning Type III drivers which takes effect Sept. 1, 2008. Law Compliance - Ken Urquhart/Paul Davis Ken told us a little more about the new Office of School Bus Safety. There will be a stake holders group which will consist of representatives from many groups representing the school bus industry. They will meet quarterly. Dave Johnson from White Bear will represent our Safety Committee on this new group. The Department will be taking a more significant role in getting us information. Forms, training etc. Bus inspections beginning Jan. 1 will be posted on the web site for anyone to look ant and see how companies/districts busses do. Duane Bartles is now officially the Chief Inspector. Postings are open for inspectors to bring the total to 15 throughout the State.

Type 3 changes will be posted on MAPT and MSBOA web sites. The changes are many so if you have drivers that drive these as part of their normal duties they will have a lot of additional requirements to comply with by Sept 1 this year. TTT- Ray Kroll Dates are July 15-18 2008 in Hinckley. Emily White from South Washington County Schools was the 18th person to register and win 4 nights in a junior suite. New Type 3 information will be presented by Captain Urquhart on Wednesday and Friday during TTT. Rodeo - Sherry Case A lot of positive feedback from this year's Road-eo. Thank you to Sherry for all her hard work in organizing it again this year. The site also worked well. Old Business: Dave Delmonico reported that the new pre-trip DVD is still on schedule to be done by TTT. The cost for production will be in the $20,000$30,000 range. Meeting was adjourned at 11:45 AM Respectfully submitted, Emily White

A new data base will be developed to track driver turnover, violations, MVR's, buses, medical updates etc that will be reviewed before an inspection. Compliance reviews will be done by Troopers.

From the President, Continued from page 2. Observe the Speed Limit! While each vehicle reaches its optimal economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. A rule of thumb, you can assume each 5 mph you drive over 60 is like paying an additional $0.20 gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer. Fuel Economy Benefit: 7-23%. Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.25 $0.81/gallon Avoid Excessive Idling. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at than do cars with smaller engines. Use Cruise Control Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas. Thomas L Hey


5 2008 Transportation Specialist Award Recipients By Shari Danzeisen From L to R: Dennis Devereaux, Wendy Laughridge, Cathy Roose, Russell Vermillion, Donald Eveland, and Roger and Kathy Meyer

This year was no exception to having many several wonderful applicants to the Transportation Specialist Awards. Our selected judge this year for the awards was Sgt. Paul Davis from the MN Department of Public Safety. He was extremely impressed with the caliber of people in our industry - and said that judging these award applications was an honor. Below you will read a short synopsis on each of this years winning Transportation Specialists.

Wendy Laughridge

Faribault Transportation, Faribault, MN Wendy Laughridge has been the “heart and soul” of the Faribault Transportation support system for the past 8 years working in the office with routing, driver, school, parent, and teacher communications. When asked what she drives, many will answer, “She DRIVES our COMPUTER!!!” She is often the first voice a person hears when calling the company and handles any and all issues in an efficient, responsive, and courteous manner. A co-worker writes: “Wendy has a very strong work ethic and is very dedicated to her job. She is always early to work and staying late to finish things up. She goes above and beyond what is expected...I

am so thankful to be able to work with Wendy, she is an “ANGEL” to all of us at Faribault Transportation.

russeLL VermiLLion

Hastings Bus Company, Hastings, MN Russell Vermillion has been driving school bus for 51 years! He has also driven motorcoach for 22 years, been a school bus driver trainer (training over 350 drivers), worked with routing, payroll, served as safety director, and a new school bus delivery driver. A retired band director in Hastings explains: “Russ Vermillion should be the ‘poster person’ for all school bus personnel. His actions and skills epitomize the professional characteristics necessary to carry out this important position.” And a co-worker writes, “Russ is well known throughout the metro area and state...it’s his positive image he carries for MN Coaches and Hastings Bus Service....Safety is always first on Russ’ list of things to remember. His famous expression is ‘You’re carrying the Lord’s most precious cargo, so keep it safe and treat them with respect’.

Continued on Page 8.

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-2533000 or 800-777-4896.


6 Project Green Fleet Recognized as a National Model for Reducing Air Pollution FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - - CONTACT: Bill Allen: 612-334-3388 x108 Minnesota Environmental Initiative 211 First Street N., Suite 250 Minneapolis, MN 55401

Partnership with members of the MSBOA wins national award from the Environmental Protection Agency. MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - A voluntary collaboration of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses including members of the MSBOA called Project Green Fleet has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a national model for improving air quality. This Minnesota-based initiative recently received the EPA's Clean Air Excellence Award in the category Community Action at a ceremony held in Washington D.C. Project Green Fleet provides school districts and fleet owners with EPA approved filters and catalyst mufflers that can reduce emissions from diesel bus engines by up to 50% and have minimal impact on vehicle performance or fuel economy. These retrofits are installed on legacy fleet buses-older buses that are expected to have five or more years of service but lack the emission controls found on newer buses. To date, Project Green Fleet has made possible the installation of retrofits on nearly 1,000 buses that transport tens of thousands of schoolchildren throughout Minnesota. Fleets participating in Project Green Fleet include First Student, M&M Bus Service, Vision, Voyageur Bus Company, Nor-Tran, Crosby-Ironton Transportation, Kottke's Bus Service, Monarch Bus Service, Paynesville Motor, Southwest Coaches, and St. Louis Park Transportation. Retrofits are provided at no charge to school districts and fleet owners through the generous support of Project Green Fleet's many sponsors. Getting a retrofit is easy: Project Green Fleet determines the proper parts for your bus, orders the equipment, and arranges for the installation either at your facility or off-site by qualified, trained technicians. Retrofitted buses have been made possible through the support of Flint Hills Resources, Xcel Energy Foundation, Rochester Public Utilities, the Mayo Foundation, Minnesota Power, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, and many other sponsors. Donaldson Company, a Minnesota-based manufacturer of filtration systems, supplies the retrofit equipment. Recognizing the importance of this work, the Minnesota legislature appropriated $2.4 million to support retrofitting school buses statewide. The EPA's Clean Air Excellence Awards recognize and honor those individuals and organizations that "have undertaken the risks of innovation, served as pioneers in their fields, and have helped improve air quality." Award winners provide a model for others to follow, and ideally also demonstrate effective collaboration and partnerships. Project Green Fleet won in the category Community Action, one of only two nationwide, whose award winners have "significantly improved the community quality of life." Project Green Fleet began in 2005 when the Minnesota Environmental Initiative (MEI) partnered with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and numerous businesses, state government agencies, and nonprofits to create the project. MEI, a nonprofit that builds partnerships to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota's environmental problems, continues to coordinate Project Green Fleet. To find out how your buses can become part of Project Green Fleet, contact MEI's Bill Droessler at 612-334-3388 x103 or bdroessler@mn-ei.org, or visit www.projectgreenfleet.org.


7

Legislative Report Continued from Page 3. Summer Campaigns and Fall Elections As I mentioned earlier in the article, this fall's election will affect the next policy and funding cycle for K-12 education in this state. MSBOA members are encouraged to study the candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Did the incumbent consider the interests of private school bus contractors these past two years? Did they speak up for MSBOA? Our members are encouraged to meet with the incumbents and the challengers and attempt to figure out which of the two will do the best job for the area you live in, including education and transportation issues. Invite them to visit your shop and meet your office staff and drivers. Remember that you can contribute up to $100 as a couple or $50 as an individual to a candidate for the House and receive the same amount back from the State through the existing Campaign Contribution Fund Program. The candidate will provide you with the form you need to fill in, sign and mail to Minnesota Dept. of Revenue. Note that you can and should consider a financial contribution to your State Senator, as well; even through they are not up for election this fall. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, will be meeting later this summer and fall to begin to prepare a legislative agenda for the 2009 session! As always, we are interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com. Have a great and safe summer!

Contact Key Legislators! The following is a list of Representatives and Senators that assisted the MSBOA in our efforts this past session. Please send them an email or letter telling them “Thank You” for their support and work during the past legislative session. You might not realize how much of an impact doing so can have.

Representatives: 1. Dean Urdahl-Grove City 2. Dan Severson-Sauk Rapids 3. Ron Erhart-Edina 4. Mark Buesgens-Jordan 5. Randy Demmer-Hayfield 6. David Dill-Crane Lake 7. Sondra Erickson-Princeton 8. Bob Gunther-Fairmont 9. Doug Magnus-Slayton 10. Jeanne Poppe-Austin 11. Marty Seifert-Marshal 12. John Ward-Brainerd

Senators: 1. Dan Skogen-Hewitt 2. Steve Murphy-Red Wing 3. Rich Olseen-Harris 4. David Hann-Eden Prairie 5. Amy Koch-Buffalo 6. Gen Olson-Minnetrista 7. LeRoy Stumpf-Plummer

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8 2008 Transportation Specialist Award Recipients Continued from Page 5. donaLd eVeLand

Kottkes’ Bus Service, Inc., Andover, MN Donald Eveland began working for Kottkes’ as a mechanic in 1969, and years later started driving a route. He also owns and operates Eveland Family Farm, an educational touring farm in the area for children. A supervisor writes: “Don has great communication skills, and makes each day a comfortable environment...Don is extremely concerned about the safety of all his passengers. He takes pride in making sure his bus is safe. Don has chosen to stay working in the transportation industry because of his love for the work. He is a great individual with a heart of gold!”

roger & Kathy meyer

Lake City Bus Lines, Lake City, MN This married team has been driving school bus for a combined 72 years! They were nominated together for the award because of the teamwork they show each and every day to those around them. They are very big supporters of student activities and fans of the sports teams when they aren’t transporting them. They just celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary, and as Cara Grisim says it best, “They wait for each other to return from their route before they leave the bus shed. When a message is posted on the board they inform each other and it is very clear they are proud of the good job each other does! Compassionate, kind-hearted, and very caring describes this pair...Together they have not only been driving buses, they have been mentors to thousands of children in our community. They have made a difference in so many lives.” As indicated in several letters this duo has transported generations of families. This past year, Kathy had a special passenger - her great-grandson. When asked if he receives special treatment she will tell you: “I treat him the same as all the other kids...but he does sneak in a hug once in a while!”

Cathy roose

Vision of Elk River, Inc., Elk River, MN Cathy Roose has been in the student transportation industry for the past 11 years. She began as a full time driver, and has since moved into a position as a full time driver trainer. She has become a member of the Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee and developed multi-media training aids to better communicate training patterns and concepts to new drivers. As noted in letters of recommendation, Cathy is extremely involved in working with children for their safety in her spare time as well. Cathy has extensive volunteer experience working with youth in several capacities. She served as director for a group called Missionettes, based out of her local church. When she began the group had 12 members, five years later the membership had grown to over 200. She now devotes her time to teens and adults comtemplating suicide rather than dealing with life, as well as working with parents who have lost children through death.

dennis deVereaux

Palmer Bus Service, Cottonwood, MN Dennis Devereaux has been driving in Lakeview school district for 7 years. On February 19, 2008, though no fault of his own, Dennis and 28 childrens’ lives were changed forever. The Lakeview School District Bus #5 was involved in a horrific accident, which took the lives of four children. As the bus was on its side, Dennis Devereaux was able with his strength and determination, to take several children in his arms and lift each child one by one to safety. His quickness and strength helped many students receive proper care and the comfort they needed in a matter of seconds. As a parent of 2 children on board that day writes, “My children and so many others were provided a hero that day. Even as we put our children to bed that evening after the accident, they both said, ‘Mom and Dad, Dennis was a hero today. He saved us.’ So few words, but remarkable words from a 5 and 8 year old.”

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

Bus Driver Awarded $432,000 in Emotional Distress Damages A recent decision provides a reminder to school bus operators of the importance of having a freedom from harassment policy. Such policies provide employees the opportunity to lodge complaints about perceived unlawful harassment and gives employers the opportunity to take appropriate action. When such policies are properly administered, they can minimize an employer potential legal exposure. In April 2008, the Ninth Circuit upheld a $432,000 damages award to a bus driver who claimed to suffer severe emotional distress from hostile work environment sexual harassment by her supervisor over a period of six months. In finding for the bus driver, the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury award of $400,000 in compensatory damages (against the school district) and $32,500 in punitive damages (against her former supervisor). Mirtha Sornia began driving buses for the school district in 2000. According to Sornia beginning in September 2001, her supervisor (Carter) began sexually harassing her. The alleged harassment included Carter asking Sornia for sex as well as giving her a napkin with (what he said) were his pubic hairs wrapped in it. These alleged incidents persisted on almost a weekly basis despite Sornia telling Carter to stop these types of behaviors. In October 2002, Sornia reported the conduct to the Union President and District's Human Resources Superintendent. After she complained, however, Carter retaliated against Sornia by denying her the right to speak Spanish at work and subsequently issuing her several written reprimands. Following the complaint, Sornia began visiting physicians and psychiatrists for depression and anxiety resulting from the alleged harassment. Sornia subsequently sued the school district and Carter for hostile work environment and "quid pro quo" sexual harassment. The jury found, and the trial court upheld, against both the district and Carter on Sornia's hostile work environment claim. On appeal, the school district argued that the $400,000 jury award was excessive and an abuse of the trial court's discretion because there were cases where more egregious behavior (such as physical touching verses Sornia's emotional distress) resulted in much lower jury awards. Despite the school district's argument, the Court upheld the damages award citing that "though $400,000 is a high award in a case with only emotional distress damages [because the jury found Sornia's testimony credible], it establishes that she suffered severe sexual harassment from her supervisor over six months, and that she experienced psychological problems stemming from that harassment for the next year and a half."

This case illustrates the importance of not only adopting a "freedom from harassment" policy but implementing follow-up procedures to the policy. The school district may have prevented the alleged retaliation from occurring if it monitored the situation after Sornia complained. The following are suggestions for employers: • Train supervisors and managers on appropriate workplace conduct, how to handle harassment complaints and recognize inappropriate behavior before a complaint is made. • Monitor your complaint procedures to ensure that supervisors and managers are handling complaints effectively, are aware of that "no retaliation" is permitted, and employees feel free to lodge complaints. • Give employees more than one avenue to report their complaints especially for situations like Sornia where the alleged harassment is coming from a supervisor. • Implement follow-up procedures to ensure that any inappropriate conduct has stopped and no retaliation has occurred. While these measures may not prevent all harassment or discrimination claims, they will help decrease the number of occurrences in your workplace and increase your chances of successfully defending any claims.


10 MSBOA Diamond Anniversary

60 Years of Safety, Friendship & Success

Above: The MSBOA Fishing Group over the years gathered for a picture. Paul Diethelm entertains the group long into the evening!

At Right: Cara and Emmee Grisim with Dawn Clark sing together.

At Right: Dawn Clark, Tom Severson, Bill Regan, Steve Jannings, and Steve Hale sing along with entertainer, Paul Diethelm.

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906

2008 MSBOA Board of Directors


11

Above and at Right: Members share good times at all functions.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

Many past and present members gathered for reminiscing.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 A standing ovation during the 2008 Transportation Specialist Awards.

ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events National School Bus Safety Week "Avoid Harm, Obey The Stop Arm" October 20-24, 2008 MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference January 8-10th, 2009 at Alltel Center in Mankato, MN MSBOA Summer Conference June 7-9th, 2009 at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MN School Bus Safety Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Thank You to the following vendor members who sponsored special

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

events or made a donation towards the MSBOA Diamond Anniversary:

Dave & Teresa Bakken Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. Interstate Detroit Diesel/Allison Transmission Midwest Bus Parts MedTox North Central Bus Sales Seon Design State Fund Mutual Superior Transit Sales Wells Fargo Insurance Ziegler Your generosity made our 60th Anniversary celebration one to remember!!!


Volume 38 Issue 8 • September 2008

Two MSBOA Members Honored at NSTA International Convention

Charles Peterson, Jr.

Bruce Dischinger

Chuck Peterson pictured here with his wife, Sheila, was awarded with the prestigious NSTA Hall of Fame Award at the recent International Convention held in Calgary, Canada.

Bruce Dischinger, Monarch Bus Service, pictured second from left, was awarded with the prestigious NSTA Golden Merit Award at July’s International Convention in Calgary, Cananda.

The Hall of Fame Award recognizes special contributions that individual members have made and are making to the school transportation industry. The award is recognition for excellence in long term efforts on behalf of pupil transportation.

The Golden Merit Award recognizes individual school bus operators for their successful acheivements in the areas of safety, driver training, business practice, vehicle maintenance and superior service to the school, the community, and the pupil transportation industry.

Criteria for the Hall of Fame Award includes:

Criteria for the Golden Merit Award includes:

• The nominee must be in good standing with the NSTA for a minimum of 10 consecutive years and a school bus contractor for at least 10 consecutive years.

• The nominee must be in good standing with the NSTA and a school bus contractor for at least 5 consecutive years.

• The nominee must be a member of the state contractor's association, which in this case is the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association.

• The nominee must be a member of the state contractor's association, which in this case is the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association.

• No more than one award will be given each year to a contractor in each state.

• No more than two awards will be given each year to a contractor in each state.

Continued on Page 11.

Continued on Page 11.

LOOK INSIDE FOR: DRIVER PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS, SCHOOL BUS INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS...


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA As I take the time to write this article I realize another summer is gone and another school year has started. While it saddens me to see another summer pass, I get excited for the fact that another school year has started and ALL the bus drivers can get back to work. It is always nice to get back into the "normal routine" of a bus company. I had the opportunity to attend the first meeting with the Office of Pupil Transportation Safety. I believe in the long run this is going to be good for the industry. This will be the first time having 4 troopers along with 15 inspectors dedicated to school buses. But with anything new it is going to take some adjustment. It appears most of the confusion is centered on Type III. As I have shared with the board, where else but in the Capital do you try to accomplish one thing and end up with just the opposite? Another project we have been working on is Project Green Fleet. For the most part it has been a successful project with only a few bumps we have had to work out. When we were to receive our installation training I had contacted our local paper and they came out and did a back to school story. Believe it or not it made front page. In recent times how many times have you seen a school bus story front page and it was positive? I hope everyone had a successful and as always a safe start to your school year and with God willing we will have a safe year. Sincerely, Thomas Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

As I watch the Olympics and get ready for the State Fair and the National Republican Convention, I realize that summer is almost over and the school buses will soon be back on the road. In fact I saw a lot of our member's buses this summer with field trips and summer school. Summer action at the State Capitol continues to be very light. Action is expected to pick up after the November elections. The 2009 legislative session begins on January 6. Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Stakeholders The Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Patrol Division held its first Office of Pupil Safety stakeholders meeting on August 12 in Mendota Heights. MSBOA was represented by our president, Tom Hey, Shelly Jonas and Gary Botzek. There were also representatives from MAPT, the Minnesota School Boards Association, SEIU, and others. Captain Ken Urquhart, Sergeant David Bartels, and Captain Paul Davis lead the discussion and summarized the mission and goals of the group. The new Office of Pupil Transportation Safety will be headed up by a lieutenant in the State Patrol and include 15 school bus inspectors (up from the current 12). In addition, three state troopers will be added and dedicated to school bus safety, training, and enforcement of school buses and school bus safety laws. The advisory group is charged with making recommendations to the legislature regarding school bus safety, drivers training and any other issue of importance or concern to the safe transport of school children to and from school. The first report is due January 15, 2009. Start up money was provided from the trunk highway fund. Legislative proposals dealing with school buses and drivers are encouraged to be shared with the new Office and stakeholder group. Type III Vans Starting September 1, Type III van drivers will be subject to a complete physical examination, background check, drug and alcohol testing, and training requirements. Type III school bus drivers will continue to need to hold a class D driver's license but not a school bus endorsement. The new law also prohibits Type III drivers from using a cell phone while operating the vehicle. This law change took effective August 1. A Type III van operator that is employed by a school district will continue to be able to drive with a class D driver's license without a school bus endorsement, but will be subject to the training requirements. The new law exempts school district employees whose "normal duties" do not include bus driving from the new tighter Type III requirements. MSBOA has posted on our website a CD PowerPoint presentation for training Type III drivers. The presentation was put together by MSBOA, MAPT and the

State Patrol. I know that Senator Rick Olseen (D-Harris) believes that Type III vehicle training requirements be stronger then current law. I also believe that the 2009 legislature will look at the issue again due to his issue and concerns. Best Practices & Model Contracts The Department of Education has provided all school districts in the state with a new set of Best Practices and Model Contract for transportation to and from school. These updated documents were a product of the 2008 Legislative Auditors Report. MSBOA participated in the development of these two documents. Members are encouraged to obtain the final versions of these two documents from the association office and review them. Note these documents are not law or rule, but rather additional guidance to the school districts regarding contracted school bus services. Summer Campaigns and Fall Elections The campaign season is going full bore! Candidates for President, US Senate, US House, state House, local races for county and school boards. These races are very important. Winners to the local school board will affect your business! The entire state House of Representative-all 134--are up for election. Representatives will be spending their time in their districts calling at SERVICES, INC. your doors and asking P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 for your support in the (800) 279-2374 fall election.

Black Financial

This fall's election will affect the next policy and funding cycle for K12 education in this state. MSBOA members are encouraged to study the candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Continued on page 10.

Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

MN Transportation Issues Committee Minutes Meeting July 23, 2008 Summary: The summary of the June Transportation Issues meeting was approved as distributed. Special Education Transportation Committee: Lori Jonason was not present. The Special Education Transportation Committee will reconvene its monthly meetings in the fall. Legislative Audit Recommendations: The Best Practices and Model Contract was distributed to school districts through the superintendents mailing, transportation directors list serve, business managers list serve and charter school bulletin. Keith Paulson, John Thomas and Kelly Wosika will present the documents at the MN Business Association conference on October 24th. There was a discussion on presenting the Best Practices and Model Contract to the MAPT fall conference scheduled for October 18th. The conference will be held simultaneously at various sites in different regions. It was suggested to standardize the presentation so that all members will receive the same information. Type III Driver Interpretation: The majority of the meeting was a discussion of the legislative intent of Senator Olseen's bill on Type III Drivers and Department of Public Safety interpretation of a primary driver verses normal driver. Also there was a discussion on what districts are required verses recommended to do in regards to drug and alcohol testing and background checks. Transportation directors felt that there was urgency on getting a clarification on this issue as they move forward on setting up routes and assigning drivers for the 2008-2009 school year. Brad Lundell contacted Senator Olseen's office to see if someone could forward a copy of the letter that was sent from the Senator's office to the Department of Public Safety requesting review of the legislative intent of the bill. Brad will forward a copy of the letter to the issue committee members once he receives it. At this time, it is assumed that the Department of Public Safety has not commented on the letter. Office of Student Transportation Safety: Members of the stakeholders group have been selected and the first meeting will be held on August 12th, 2008 at the Department of Public Safety, Mendota Heights location. MDE Updates: Kelly Wosika said that the MARSS Transportation Reports were mailed out on Tuesday July 22, 2008. Districts should work on reviewing and correcting any necessary MARSS transportation data. Kelly brought up an issue that was recently discussed at MDE. A district is not obligated to provide transportation to nonpublic school students when the district is not in session because of a change in its school schedule to a year round or to four days per week. In these cases the nonpublic school may contract with a private contractor or parents maybe reimbursed so that transportation is provided. Miscellaneous: There was a group discussion on what districts are doing as a result of the increased gas prices. Some suggestions were to enter into locked price agreements especially with other entities to get a rate reduction, getting discounts for prompt payments, expanding walking distances and charging fees for transportation. Future Meetings: October 22, 2008 December 10, 2008 January 28, 2008


5 New Physical Form Required for all School Bus Drivers In August the MN Department of Public Safety notified MSBOA regarding the change in physical forms for all school bus drivers. The one-page form that the state was sending out to drivers to renew their physical is no longer acceptable. The onepage form does not contain all of the necessary information required by the Federal Government for a driver to qualify physically for a Commercial Drivers License.

ÂŽ

CAT C7 ACERT ENGINE

The Perfect Fit for School Buses Features advanced emissions technology that exceeds clean air goals without sacrificing engine performance and reliability.  Mid range, 190-300 hp  Up to 4% better fuel economy, based on new Cat common rail fuel system  Leading edge electronics  Best life-to-overhaul  Easy maintenance  Cat 5-year warranty for school bus operators  Extended service plans, up to 10 years Call Greg Ross for more information.

Shakopee, MN

952.887.4582 • 888.320.4292

If your company has been using this form, or if your drivers normally have this one-page physical done at the doctor - it will no longer be accepted. You must use the new form, available for you online at www.msboa.com under the members only section. If you or a driver turns the one-page form into the state, the driver will be contacted and given 30 days to get the proper physical completed. This will end up increasing your costs for physicals if the doctor bills you for both, and you run the risk of having your driver become disqualified. If you contract with a medical facility to do all of your school bus driver physicals, make sure they know that the old form is no longer acceptable, must be discarded, and all physicals are to be on the new 3 page forms starting August 1st. If you were using the 3 page DOT Physical form for your drivers because of charter work, this form is still acceptable. Make sure that you make your drivers aware of this information immediately so you do not have drivers become disqualified from driving over a paperwork issue.

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-2533000 or 800-777-4896.


6 Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Notes Stakeholder Meeting • 8/12/08 Captain Ken Urquhart called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. Following introductions, Urquhart asked for opinions on meeting frequency. It was decided that quarterly meetings were adequate at this time. He stated that he would oversee the committee until the new Lieutenant was put in place on September 17. Following that there would be a significant time period of transition until the Lieutenant got up to speed. Grace Kelliher from the Minnesota School Boards Association asked if Urquhart saw this group as repositories of information because she sees a need for this in outstate Minnesota where perhaps they don’t have a full time transportation director. Urquhart agreed. He believes that education will be a key component and plans to make a recommendation to the legislature in January. Urquhart stated that the criminal proceedings following the Cottonwood crash had concluded. Olga Franco was found guilty. The Department of Public Safety plans to hold a town meeting in Cottonwood. They’ve found in the past that a lot of rumors circulate in the community and they feel it is important to get out the facts. Urquhart distributed a letter from Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion in response to the legislative intent letter from Senator Olseen. Urquhart also pointed out that the portion of the law regarding drug and alcohol testing states that employers may request or require. The Department stated that this does not constitute a mandate to test. Senator Olseen wants to address this during the next legislative session. The DPS is tasked with enforcing the current regulation as written, despite whatever may have been the intent. Urquhart stated that there is a liability issue rising out of the Forest Lake incident and individuals may wish to protect themselves accordingly. The School Boards Assn. stated that it was her belief that the teachers and coaches were not the problem drivers. Urquhart stated that they have no idea. He said there is no data on those drivers. Most local police have no idea what a Type III vehicle is because it is not readily identifiable. The State Patrol inspected 2400 Type III vehicles last year; he believes that number is vastly under-reported. He stated that he has heard from a lot of school districts. He estimates that about 50% of the districts want the new regulations and the other 50% have voiced concerns regarding hardships the law presents. An Apple Valley Rosemont school district representative commented that he has about 400 teachers using vehicles. The School Boards Assn stated that these regulations delve into negotiation and contractual issues. There was some discussion about the background checks and how often teachers need one. Currently by statute, there is an initial check and one when they change districts. The school boards association felt that with the day limit on how long

teachers have to report driving violations, most teachers who transport once a year will say forget it. Apple Valley Rosemont brought up the ride-a-long and the hardship that would present with his 400 potential drivers. Urquhart suggested that they wait until they need to drive. Not all drivers need to be trained by 9-1-08, they have to be trained before you use them. Dave Johnson from White Bear Lake Schools stated that he believes in the event of an incident, you will be held to the highest standard in the field and that would be a school bus driver. He stated that his school district is narrowing their pool of potential drivers. They do not want to explain to a parent why they were allowing people who were not fully qualified to drive their children around. He also stated that he believes that if you are paying teachers mileage to transport students in their personal vehicle, he would look at that relationship like a contractor relationship and to make sure those people have insurance. He checked with his insurance company and they told him that he would not be covered because they would consider that “business use” not personal use. Urquhart stated that if you have volunteers driving Type III vehicles that it is now not permitted under this law. They have to be an employee of the school district or the contractor. Urquhart informed the group school bus inspection results will be posted on the website. It will be the bus number, the types of vehicles inspected and a document of any problems. That way parents and other interested parties can see if there are problems and if they are being taken care of. The question was asked if random inspections will be posted as well. Urquhart stated that the random inspections are a “Level 3” and mainly involve the driver, so they would not be able to post anything specific about the driver. Urquhart stated that they are seeing the same faces year after year at the conferences and train-the-trainer. They often are preaching to the choir. They aren’t always reaching the people that they feel they need to reach. He stated that the industry is only as strong as its weakest link. He has some ideas on e-learning that they do within their department. It would involve training tools that school districts and contractors could download off the DPS website. He would like to make this a legislative recommendation in January in hopes that they would be willing to fund this project. He also would like to clean up the definition of what is a reportable crash and eliminate the confusion there. He stated he would like to see any initiatives brought forward by the stakeholders because he doesn’t want to be blindsided down at the Capitol.

Continued on page 10.


7

Participate in National Award - Winning Project Green Fleet! Project Green Fleet is looking for new school bus partners! Your buses can easily become part of this award-winning effort that is helping keep Minnesota's air clean. Participation is free. Project Green Fleet is an effort to reduce the exhaust emissions from legacy fleet buses-older buses that can still provide many years of valuable service but do not run as clean as newer models. Project Green Fleet provides and installs at no cost crankcase filters and diesel oxidation catalyst mufflers on eligible buses. The parts are made by Donaldson Company based in Minneapolis and can reduce engine emissions by up to 50%. Maintenance is easy, and Project Green Fleet even provides two replacement filters for every retrofitted bus. Participation in Project Green Fleet is voluntary and more and more fleets are participating as the project progresses. MSBOA Members currently participating in Project Green Fleet include: Braham Bus Company, Crosby-Ironton Transportation, Kottke's Bus Service, Inc, M&M Bus Service, Monarch Bus Service, Nor-Tran, Inc, Southwest Coaches, Vision Transportation Services, and Voyageur Bus Company and First Student in Rochester and Champlin. Project Green Fleet began in 2005 and to date has made possible retrofits on nearly 1000 buses throughout Minnesota. Buses belonging to school districts from Bemidji to Minneapolis to Rochester, as well as privately-owned bus fleets and Head Start buses have received retrofits from Project Green Fleet. Participants are proud to be part of Project Green Fleet-the Project was recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a Clean Air Excellence Award, one of only two nationwide in the category Community Action. According to the EPA, Project Green Fleet is a pioneering effort to improve air quality that has "significantly improved the community quality of life." Everyone benefits when buses join Project Green Fleet. You can learn more about Project Green Fleet at www.projectgreenfleet.org or by contacting Emily Franklin at the Minnesota Environmental Initiative. Emily can be reached at 612-333-3388 x114 or efranklin@mn-ei.org. Ask her how your fleet can participate in this exciting, voluntary project!

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8

INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS for School Transportation Contracts Ed. Note: The following is a letter from David Bakken, Wells Fargo Insurance, explaining the minimum insurance requirements for school bus contractors. Dear Shelly: Thank you for including in the latest newsletter a copy of the suggested transportation contract provided by the Minnesota Department of Education. As we discussed, the language used in the sample contract to outline minimum liability limits does not reflect how insurance policies are typically written for private transportation contractors. Automobile Liability insurance policies for private contractors are generally not written with split limits for Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability. I would imagine that the split limits for the primary liability insurance outlined in the sample contract reflect immunity levels that public entities enjoy. This is not legal advice, but it is more common to see insurance requirements in transportation contracts spelled out in language similar to the following: The contractor will be required to carry insurance with the following limits: Automobile Liability Insurance: Commercial General Liability Insurance: Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Umbrella Liabilty Insurance:

$1,000,000 Combined Single Limit $1,000,000 Per Occurence Statutory $4,000,000

The contractor shall provide the District a Certificate of Insurance evidencing such minimum limits. The District shall be included as Additional Insured with respect to Automobile Liability. The limits shown above would provide a total limit of $5,000,000 per occurrence for Automobile Liability and General Liability (the sample contract does reference Umbrella Liability at a $5,000,000 limit). Higher limits are certainly available and recommended. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like further discussion. Sincerely, David C. Bakken Senior Vice President Wells Fargo Insurance Services

Ask a fellow Contractor to Join

YM S B O A Y


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

There's Nothing Free About the "Employee Free Choice Act" Over the past several months, television advertisements have increased public awareness of a proposed bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act. As a result of these advertisements, the public has started to question what this proposed bill, misleadingly entitled, "The Employee Free Choice Act," really means. In essence, the bill (despite its name) does away with secret ballot elections in the workplace. Rather than have an election to see if the employees want to be represented by a union, unions would instead only have to show that a majority of the employees had signed an "authorization card," which indicates an interest in the union. Currently, authorization cards are most commonly used to request an election, rather than force recognition of the union. Signatures on cards are often obtained "by hook or by crook," based on various methods of persuasion, misrepresentation and intimidation, with union organizers looking over employees' shoulders. Under current law, authorization cards are kept confidential by the NLRB, and are almost impossible for an employer (or employee) to challenge unless there is evidence of forgery. The EFCA has raised fears by employers that employees will be misled or coerced into signing the cards, with no real way of remedying or challenging the authenticity of the card. Unions and labor advocates have countered that the current election system is broken, and that employers exert too much influence over their employees' votes (employers in the past 25 years have generally won a majority of union elections), although the election campaign rules have been essentially unchanged for 75 years. Unions, in fact, are simply failing to prevail with employees in the marketplace for their "services" as representatives. A second major component of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act is a limit on the duration of negotiations once a union is recognized. Under current law, the only legal requirement in the bargaining process is that the parties engage in good-faith bargaining. Neither is required to agree to any particular term. There is no requirement that a contract ever be reached. The "Employee Free Choice Act," however, would put a 120-day limit (including 30 days with a mediator) on bargaining, after which the matter would automatically be referred to "interest arbitration." At that point, a government arbitrator would impose terms of a collective bargaining agreement on the parties after a hearing. Neither party could challenge the arbitrator's ruling, and the contract would last for two years. Once again, labor advocates claim that this is necessary because employers have delayed

negotiations under current law, in order, they say, to avoid ever reaching an agreement. Employers and their advocates are understandably nervous about government-appointed arbitrators telling them how to run their businesses and imposing labor costs for which they are not responsible. Regardless of one's view of the merits of the Free Choice Act, there is no question among union or management representatives that, if passed, it would result in much higher unionization levels, as well as union penetration into industries where unions have not traditionally been active. Many owners, managers and Human Resource Professionals in recent years have assumed that unions were a thing of the past. The labor movement is calling our bluff with the EFCA. Depending upon the outcome of the elections this Fall, this bill could become reality since a majority of Democrats in office support the bill. In March of 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employee Free Choice Act (HR 800). The bill stalled in the Senate after President Bush threatened a veto, and it was never brought to the floor. According to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), one of the bill's sponsors, the Democratic Majority realized the bill would not make it through the Senate, and decided to table it for later consideration, and thus keep the issue alive until after the 2008 election. Senator Obama has said that signing the bill would be one of his first acts if elected President. Senator McCain strongly opposes the EFCA and not one Republican Congressperson or Senator voted for the EFCA. The bill is being pushed more strongly than any labor initiative in the past 25 years, and would represent the most radical change ever to the Depression-era National Labor Relations Act. It would also likely result in automatic union organizing in a wide range of industries. If the bill is eventually passed, employers will need to be prepared to educate employees about what unionization and signing an authorization card really means - before any union organizing effort takes place. For more information on the Employee Free Choice Act, contact Tom Revnew at 952.921.4622.


10 Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Notes continued from page 6. Ray Kroll brought forward an Operation Lifesaver training film. Urquhart stated that this should be a primary element in fall training sessions because if a driver is convicted of a violation, you will lose that driver. Urquhart reminded the group that the State Patrol will be out inspecting files unannounced. If you have less than 30 drivers, they will look at all of them. If you have more than 30, they will look at 30%. Urquhart also reminded the group of the reporting requirements for CDL and non-CDL holders. They will be looking for these forms in the driver files. Make sure that your drivers are aware they need to report all violations whether it is in their personal car or a school bus with the exception of parking tickets . Deb Carlson from Driver & Vehicle Services stated that they are in the process of getting rid of the 1 page medical qualification form. All drivers who renew after August 1 should be using the three page form. If they had a 1 page form sent to them, let them know that they need to get a 3 page form instead. Sgt. Duane Bartels stated that to his knowledge most contractors were already using the DOT form and those drivers should be fine.

Legislative Update

Continued from page 3.

Did the incumbent consider the interests of private school bus contractors these past two years? Did they speak up for MSBOA? Our members are encouraged to meet with the incumbents and the challengers and attempt to figure out which of the two will do the best job for the area you live in, including education and transportation issues. Invite them to visit your shop and meet your office staff and drivers. Remember that you can contribute up to $100 as a couple or $50 as an individual to a candidate for the House and receive the same amount back from the State through the existing Campaign Contribution Fund Program. The candidate will provide you with the form you need to fill in, sign and mail to Minnesota Dept. of Revenue. Note that you can and should conA Nationwide Distributor sider a financial contribution to your State of School Bus Parts Senator as well; even through they are not and Safety Equipment up for election this fall. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, will be meeting early this fall to begin to prepare a legislative agenda for the 2009 session! As always, we are interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com. Enjoy the fall and be sure to vote!

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


11

Using MedTox for Non-CDL Accounts In this issue of The Operator, you will find an insert from MedTox Laboratories to set up a NON-CDL Account. Follow the directions on the form and send it to MedTox if you want to have a NON-CDL account. Please be advised that since there are not currently any State or Federal Regulations mandating the percentage of drivers or required amount of random tests, MedTox will not perform a Random Draw automatically from this account like they do with the CDL account you already have set up. You will have to determine the rate and amount of drivers you would like randomly drawn and notify them. If you decide to have them mirror the Federal Regulations for rate and percentage of drivers tested, they will do so. Remember, whatever you decide, needs to be written in your drug and alcohol testing policy.

Charles Peterson Continued from Page 1. Chuck Peterson is President of Kottkes' Bus Service. The family owned business has been in operation for 60 years and provides transportation services to the Anoka-Hennepin District 11, the largest school district in the state of Minnesota and also the largest independent contractor in the state. Chuck has shown a dedication to the industry with his involvement at both the state and national level. He is an active participant with the MSBOA and served as a Vice President of their Board of Directors and also been involved with the MSBOA Conference Planning Committee for the past several years. Chuck also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Student Transportation Association. Chuck received the Golden Merit Award from the NSTA in 1999. The Golden Merit Award recognizes excellence in service, safety and community responsibility. Additionally, Kottkes' Bus Service, Inc. has been recognized by the School Bus Fleet magazine as operating one of the Best 50 Fleets in America.

Bruce Dischinger Continued from page 1. Bruce currently works for Hastings Bus Company/Minnesota Coaches as the general manager of his multiple terminals throughout the state of Minnesota. However, Bruce has been in the industry for nearly 40 years. He worked in the Minneapolis School District as the Transportation Director for many years. He worked for Ryder Transportation as the Regional Manager. Quite simply, school transportation has been his life’s work and his passion. With his experience, he is often sought after by his colleagues and peers for advice. He is very willing to share his ideas and serve the industry in any way he can. Bruce has the ability to see clearly to the heart of the issue and explain it so that others can understand. This makes Bruce an invaluable resource on the various committees he has served on for the MSBOA. In addition, Bruce makes himself available to testify at the Capitol on school transportation matters when necessary. Bruce is entirely devoted to safety. While on the MSBOA Board of Directors, he worked on a project called The Safe Team – collaborative partnership with our association, The Minnesota Twins, Hardees Restaurants and UPN Channel 9. They sent out newsletters to children and aired school safety messages during after school TV programming. This was a massive community outreach that was very successful. Bruce was also a proponent of the school bus safety campaign the MSBOA started with Mello Smello in the early 90’s. Although the MSBOA is no longer directly involved with Mello Smello, numerous school bus safety materials are still available on their website http://www.bussafetystop.com.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events National School Bus Safety Week "Avoid Harm, Obey The Stop Arm" October 20-24, 2008 MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference January 8-10th, 2009 at Alltel Center in Mankato, MN MSBOA Summer Conference June 7-9th, 2009 at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MN Office of Pupil Transportation Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

GOT EMAIL??? If you currently do not receive information from MSBOA via email, then our office does not have your email address.

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

Email allows us to get information to all members much more efficiently. You do not have to wait until the newsletter comes out for industry changes. There have been several changes this past year many of our members received the same day MSBOA was notified about them. Wouldn’t you like to be as up-to-date on the industry as your competitors? It is also free to members to add more than one email address if you want other key people in your company to receive our information. MSBOA does not share email addresses with anyone other than current MSBOA members. If you need to be added to the email list - call immediately. 320-274-8313.


Volume 38 Issue 9 • October 2008

Type III Issues Baffle School Districts Shelly Jonas As of the end of September, it appears that many school districts are struggling with how to manage their teachers and coaches who drive Type III vehicles. When the state law was passed in May, many school districts mistakenly believed that teachers and coaches were not included in the scope of the law. The Department of Public Safety has consistently stated that indeed teachers and coaches who drive students in Type III vehicles need to adhere to all of the Type III training requirements and regulations. At the center of the controversy, is the definition of the term “normal duties”. The DPS says that “normal duties” occur when someone expects you to do something. If you always drive the team to games, then that is a normal duty. The school districts have since been trying to come to terms with the logistics of having to get physicals completed as well as fulfill the other training requirements for an estimated 10,000 people statewide. There are some complicating factors with the implementation of the Type III law. When the teacher is an employee of the school and the contractor owns the vehicle, is the contractor putting him or herself at risk if something happens? In this situation the contractor in essence is leasing the vehicle to the school and should have paperwork on file indicating as much. I have asked our association’s attorney to write up a boiler plate lease for your use in these situations. Please look for it as an insert in this newsletter. What seems to be getting lost in the shuffle is the purpose as to why this law was written. This law was created to ensure that every student, has the same stringent standard of safety, no matter what vehicle is used. Amanda Berglund was a fourteen year old girl who was killed in May 2007 when her van crashed into the back of a school bus. Later it was revealed that her driver had marijuana in his system as well as a history of speeding tickets. Berglund’s parents testified at the Capitol on a number of occasions. They assumed that someone was looking out for her safety. If we say we are the champions of safety, then how can we argue that this law is not needed? How can we argue that anyone is above this law? The Department of Public Safety has put together numerous safety items to help with training. There is an evaluator form with the competencies listed, as well as blanks for dates of physicals and motor vehicle record checks. There is a power point presentation on their website and the MSBOA website that covers the competencies. These are very useful tools to help ensure that all of the training requirements are met. I’ve asked our board members to share how their school districts are handling the change. One board member stated they had a training session with a trainer who went over the DPS power point presentation with the group. Another board member stated that they handle all the transportation, so it hasn’t been an issue. One board member stated that his district confirmed that they will do the training, but they decided they will not drug test their teachers. There have been other districts who have told their coaches that they either have to do the training and get drug tested, or they will not be driving. I have spoke with a number of contractors who are doing the training for the district. A number of these contractors have been writing up a document delineating the scope of the training they are providing and whether or not those teachers have been included in their drug pool so that it is clear to all parties involved. The MSBOA has heard from several sources to expect some changes to this law in the upcoming legislative session. Watch for more information in future newsletters.

LOOK INSIDE FOR: SCHOOL BUS SAFETY WEEK INFORMATION, LEGISLATIVE REPORT AND MORE!


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA Hopefully by now the route adjustments have been made and you have been able to settle into the routine business of running a bus company (if there is such a thing). It is still hard to believe we are into another school year. I thought all these electronic devises were suppose to make our lives easier and give us more free time! I seem to find less time do to the things I want to do. It is the right time to be looking at the next legislative session. I predict we will be having another active session. NOW is the time to be making contacts with your legislators and make your visits before they head back to St Paul. It is a big election year and they are looking for support. I have already taken the time to visit with mine and have laid some groundwork for the upcoming session. Remember that the only way we protect our interest (investments) is to have our voice heard and the word from St Paul is that last session our voice was heard LOUD and CLEAR. Reminders that you can jointly give $100.00 and receive it back from the state. The first $100 is free to you but you have to make the effort. Trust me they do remember who contributes. By the time this is being read the board will have met and begun planning for the upcoming year. As with always if you have any questions/concerns feel free to contact MSBOA or any of your board members. These people are there to help. Have a great year! The joint conference is right around the corner. Thomas Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

Summer and the GOP national convention have come and gone. Some excitement in both events! Summer action at the State Capitol continues light. It is expected to pick up after the November elections. The 2009 legislative session begins on January 6. K-12 Education Finance Governor Pawlenty just released a new K-12 education funding plan that calls for more teacher accountability. With the general fund deficit that the 2009 legislature and Governor will have to deal with and the billions of dollars that are committed to K-12 education funding, the discussion, debate and battles will be long and hard regarding future funding and priorities. Late in the 2008 legislative session, Rep. Mindy Greiling (DRoseville), introduced HF4178. The bill would modify the current K-12 school finance system and create a new education funding framework. Greiling, Chair of the House K-12 Education Finance Division, is taking time away from campaigning for re-election to hold hearings around the state on this issue. The legislative proposal, which is expected to be reintroduced into the 2009 session, contains two changes to the transportation funding revenue a school district would receive. In addition to the current sparsity aid a school district receives, they would also receive up to 20 percent of the district's total regular to and from school transportation costs for the year for hazardous transportation aid. The district would also receive five percent of their state revenue for school bus purchases. If a district contracts out for school bus services, that five percent money could be used for other school district needs. The bill was also introduced in the Senate as SF3828 by Senator Terri Bonoff (D-Minnetonka). The MSBOA supports the hazardous safety efforts, but has concerns around the unbalanced school bus purchase provision for districts that operate their own fleet. The MSBOA is interested in returning to the past K-12 education funding model that creates and maintains a dedicated account for transportation of school kids. Type III Vans On September 1, Type III van drivers became subject to a complete physical examination, background check, drug and alcohol testing, and training requirements. Type III school bus drivers will continue to need to hold a class D driver's license but not a school bus endorsement. Type III van operators that are employed by a school district will continue to be able to drive with a class D driver's license without a school bus endorsement, but will be subject to the training requirements. The new law exempts school district employees whose "normal duties" do not include bus driving from the new tighter Type III requirements. Check the

MSBOA website for a Type III drivers training CD PowerPoint presentation that was developed by MSBOA, MAPT and the State Patrol. Senator Rick Olseen (D-Harris) is expected to introduce legislation in 2009 to clarify the meaning of normal duties to exempt teachers and coaches from the new Type III provisions. Effective August 1 Type III drivers were banned from using a cell phone while operating the vehicle. Constitutional Amendment on Fall Ballot Many of our members like to hunt or fish or use the state parks or recreate on our 10,000+ lakes and rivers or go to the community theater or history museum. A proposal that took 10 years to pass through the state legislature is on the November 4 ballot asking the voters if they would be willing to increase the sales tax by 3/8th of 1 percent if those new dollars were dedicated for the environment, conservation, parks, trails, clean water, community theater and history centers. A large collation of hunter and angler organizations, environmentalists and arts folks have joined together and are working for the passing of this constitutional amendment. To many Minnesotan's it is not just a tax increase, but an investment in our environmental and cultural quality of life in this state. Summer Campaigns and Fall Elections All of the candidates for the House of Representatives are busy campaigning for election! As mentioned earlier, there is legislation already introduced that will affect the next policy and funding cycle for K-12 education in this state. I encourage MSBOA members to study the candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Did the incumbent consider the interests of private school bus contractors these past two years? Continued on Page 5.

Black Financial SERVICES, INC.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

School Bus Safety Week is October 20-24th Stop Ahead: Kids On Red School Bus Safety Week is just a few short weeks away. What has always bothered me about this week is that thanks to MEA it often falls on the shortest week of the year but this year we get a full week. Of course, the other good thing about the week is that it gives you the opportunity to educate the public about the safety of the yellow school bus. One of the biggest misconceptions about the school bus is that is comparable to a passenger cars and other vehicles on the road. Many parents view the school bus as dangerous place with a suspect driver and bullies moving about unchecked terrorizing other passengers. However, you know that isn’t the case. School buses are designed for the sole purpose of transporting children safely. From the color of the vehicle to the construction of the chassis, it was built for safety. Its size keeps its passengers up high and out of the impact zone. The training of the driver is specialized to the age and needs of its passengers. As the local expert in school transportation, it is up to you to get this message out to the general public. We all know that the media focuses its coverage on school bus accidents, but there are a number of stories that you can use to focus their coverage on positive aspects of school transportation. The American School Bus Council has put together a toolkit on putting together public outreach materials. You can find it on their website: www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org Some Facts and Quotable Figures (Courtesy of the ASBC) School Bus Safety A child is 14 times safer in a school bus than in other modes of travel. Children driving to school or riding with a teen driver are 44 times more likely to be fatally injured than in a school bus. (Transportation Research Board, 2002.)

New safety features make the school bus more trustworthy than ever before. These include: • Crossing arms to help guarantee children walk where the driver can see them at all times. • Sleeping child alarms guarantee the driver will check each seat at the end of his or her route. • New designs of the front windows, mirrors and the driver’s seat give drivers a better view of the road and of students. • Reinforced side panels resist side impacts. • Increased emergency exit space allows quick and easy evacuation if necessary. • High visibility exterior markings increase traffic awareness. Nearly 470,000 school buses transport 25 million children each day in the US. The National Academy of Sciences, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the US DOT all agree that school buses are the safest form of transportation for getting children to and from school. 97% of all children involved in a school bus related accident do not require hospital treatment. (Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital, 2006.) Environmental Benefits The American School Bus Council estimates that $8 BILLION in fuel costs are saved annually by school buses. 2007 model year school buses are 60 times cleaner than those built before 1990. If you have worked with Project Greenfleet, this is a great opportunity to get out a positive message. You can also include information about the biodiesel you use in your vehicles.

Driver Qualifications School bus drivers are highly trained professionals who have child safety in mind at all times. They receive specialized training in loading and unloading passengers, special needs, emergency medical procedures, and student management. They are the first person a child sees during the school day, day after day, year after year. School bus drivers are required to obtain a commercial drivers license, pass a written and skills test, pass a criminal background check before their employment and ongoing throughout their career, pass a physical exam biannually, pass drug and alcohol screening and driving record checks.


5 Texas Lawmakers Get Cold Feet about Seatbelt Requirement The Houston Chronicle reported in an August 14th article, that lawmakers felt “stampeded” into passing a school bus seat belt law and now feel the law should be eased up. State Senator Jeff Wentworth told the Chronicle, “It was probably a mistake to require seat belts on school buses. It's extremely expensive, and there is no evidence it would significantly save lives or reduce injuries." The 2007 law would go into effect September 1, 2010 and is contingent on the state appropriating funds to pay for the lap shoulder belts. The Legislative Board estimated the first year costs at $104 million. The law was approved following a 2006 accident in which two girls died when a charter coach carrying a high school soccer team overturned. Governor Rick Perry’s spokesperson stated that the Governor believes the legislation will save lives and give parents peace of mind.

Legislative Update Continued from Page 3. Did they speak up for MSBOA? Our members are also encouraged to meet with the incumbents and the challengers and attempt to figure out which of the two will do the best job for the area you live in, including education and transportation issues. Invite them to visit your shop and meet your office staff and drivers. Remember that you can contribute up to $100 as a couple or $50 as an individual to a candidate for the House and receive the same amount back from the State through the existing Campaign Contribution Fund Program. The candidate will provide you with the form you need to fill in, sign and mail to Minnesota Dept. of Revenue. Note that you can and should consider a financial contribution to your State Senator as well, even through they are not up for election this fall. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, will be meeting early this fall to begin to prepare a legislative agenda for the 2009 session! As always, we are interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com. Enjoy the fall and be sure to vote!

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-2533000 or 800-777-4896.


6 Minnesota School Bus Operators Association Board of Directors Meeting • June 8, 2008 • Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge President Tom Hey called the meeting to order at 9:02. Hey thanked everyone for coming to celebrate the association’s 60th Anniversary Mike Clark made a motion to approve the Minutes from the Mankato meeting. Chuck Peterson seconded. Motion Carried Treasurer’s Report. Winter Conference numbers looked low. Jonas stated it was due to the timing of the conference. With the January date, much of the income is received in 2007. Gaylen Lenz made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report, Peterson seconded. Motion Carried Gary Botzek –Summary of the Legislative Session. The MSBOA came out unscathed at the last minute. House had the Dibble Bill in the Transportation. Senate had it in the Education arena. Those people often don’t want to meet until Conference Committee. The fact that it was in two different Conference committees helped. In Transportation, the softer language was knocked down. The office of Public Safety was a good way to strike the Dibble stuff and add the Public safety stuff. It was one of the first things that was done on the Transportation bill. In the Education bill on the Senate side, LeRoy Stumpf didn’t like the language in the first place so it was a lot easier. Senator Olseen worked hard. We had a lot of friends that worked hard for us. Captain Ken will oversee the set up of the Office of Pupil Safety. He’ll pick a Lt. to run it. It will be funded by Trunk Hwy funds. Probably set up and running by 7/1. DPS will be adding 3 troopers and inspectors will be increased from 12 to 15. Two weeks before the session was over we were not looking good and we turned it around. We had grass roots efforts we gained a lot of exposure and reputation. We got good help from the MN School Board Assn. All three of the lobbyist for MSBA testified on our behalf. Curt S worked daily with Gary to get things done. Education MN testified against. There was a SEIU change over. Kim Nelson disappeared. They hired a new guy last minute and he didn’t know the issues as well. The Type III school bus arose out of the Forest Lake incident. Olseen and State Auditors Report emphasized the need for a tightening of the requirements. They are also prohibited from cell phone use. Drug & Alcohol requirements, physical were added. Biodiesel also came up. Gary Botzek will put together of a list of people to thank or work to get reelected. Rural democrats were useful as well. Everyone on the board contacted their legislators this past session. Botzek stated that is very important to keep that going. The strength of the organization is in our numbers no matter if you are a one bus operator or a big operator. Botzek added that everyone in the House is up for election this fall. Take advantage of the free $100 the state gives you. If you have multiple operations, contact everyone in those locations as well. Those relationships need to be kept up. They all need campaign money. Fred Lenz had a lot of

respect down at the capital. We got the job done. It was a huge effort – frustrating without any instant results. But we sure had a lot of help this time around. We proved that persistence paid off. Congratulations MSBOA! Tom Revnew – Legal report. Tom stated that he is still learning the industry and thanked the board for the opportunity. The Legal Hotline was generating 2-3 phone calls per month - generally handbook issues, but some contract issues and some employment issues as well. Good phone calls and seemed appreciative of the help. Dibble had a bill that restricted funds for unionizing. There is a court case at the Supreme Court that is testing the public funds law. The Supreme Court is hearing a California case. The district courts struck it down as unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit said it is enforceable. The issue is at the Supreme Court, decision issued by 6/30. Other issues regarding unions: the Teamster Union got 1000 drivers in Fla. Unionizing efforts in Rochester occurred earlier in the year. First Student ultimately prevailed, but there were some issues that are still unresolved following the 8367 vote. First Student is taking hands off position with regards to unionizing. Currently there is an active campaign in Champlin with the Teamsters. Twin Cities is targeted for union activity. Members should attend school board meetings. You will see activity at those levels. There are some other areas like St. Cloud or Duluth that it could pop up. Teamsters and SEIU do have a partnership and testified with the SEIU last fall. They are working together to organize. Revnew stated that he was unaware how often that will happen, but that is an issue to be aware of. Revnew’s final comments were in regards to negotiating contract issues at the table. The consultant involved constantly compared apples to oranges. There has to be a way to share this information with the membership. There is a wealth of information that the membership has. There has to be a way to better educate the general membership. Tom Hey said that there should maybe be included in the How to Choose a Contractor white paper. What schools are told they have to do and what is legally required are often different. Continued on Page 7.


7 MSBOA Board Minutes Continued from Page 6. The consultant is often making all the representation as to what the law requires. Another fear is that the model contract will be viewed as law. School districts are being told to bid out by the School Boards Association due to some ongoing legal challenges. John Benjamin stated that there are some good that has come out of working with consultants, but that the contractor should record everything that comes out of the rooms. One idea Revnew mentioned was to have a round table discussion with transportation consultants. Another issue he has been hearing is with buying fuel at the pump, they indicated that there are a few members that do that. Is there a bulk rate the association could obtain? Hey cautioned that fuel purchases are often a source of political influence at the local level. There are also storage issues as well. Potential collusion issues were mentioned. Revnew stated that Associations can bargain for discounts for their members. Committee reports: 60th Anniversary Committee has met and gave a quick run down as to the agenda. Driver Development Series: Met several times with MAPT. Shari, Rudy, Mike Nelson, Michael Putzke represented MSBOA. PreTrip Inspection has been filmed. Due to be released during train the trainer. MSBOA is sharing costs with MAPT. Also have contacted Duane Bartles who is working on getting Federal funding. He has been given a list of potential film titles to forward to his sources. He feels like it has a good shot. The committee received $2500 from Hoglund Bus Co. for the first video, Superior for the second, Blue Bird for the 3rd. MAPT is very committed. The shoot went very well. Lots of committee members helped. Michael Putzke is very wonderful to have on the committee. There was discussion over email about the charge. The groups would like to fund the 2nd film with the sales of the first. We planned to sell it to ourselves and PTSI, but they take 40% of it. Doug Grisim will head up the antique and new bus display. Contractor Visits – John Benjamin, Doug Grisim and Mike Clark were the only ones that contacted their assigned group. Grisim is keeping track of who visited who. People are more than willing to talk. They don’t have a good reason to be a member besides being too busy. Mike Clark stated that they talked about consultants, fuel escalators. Minnesota Taxpayers Discussion – The SEIU gave a lot of data to the Legislative Auditor. The Auditor published much of that data. The SEIU released a paper stating that contracted busing is more expensive that school district owned busing. Revnew has been asking Mpls for this data used in their study and they have ignored 4-5 requests. The MTA study would look at which group is more expensive. The board stated that we’ve been saving this money for something like this. Jannings made a motion to allocate up to $20,000 study. Rudy seconded the motion. Motion carried. Legislative session planning: We want to start planning for session soon and develop our positions. We’d like to have a meeting with Gary so that everyone is on the same page as a consistent voice. Unionizing tactics don’t appear to be going away. How to Choose a Contractor White Paper: Need to put a committee together on this as it is much needed. That group could work with Revnew; he could put together the legal viewpoint. We could distribute this to School Board members. Some of the work maybe done by NSTA already? This could address some of the issues with contracting and negotiation. We have some Attorney General opinion. It was discussed that it needs to be very comprehensive. Perhaps a section of Frequently asked Questionnaire. Am I required to bid out? Things that you need to be aware of etc.. We need to educate our members on the model contract and best practices. Model contract is only the starting point. There needs to be a consistent message to the School Boards association - starting now. Board Retreat? Very successful, but fell apart last fall. It was discussed that St. Cloud is a good location and that perhaps the weekend in the fall before or after MEA would work. Gaylen stated that he would prefer to meet on the weekend rather than during the week. Lenz made a motion to adjourn. Peterson seconded. The meeting adjourned at 11:10.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8

YELLOW GOES GREEN By Cindy Votruba of The Marshall Independent. Ed. Note: This article was printed as an example of what many of our contractors are sharing in their local community newspapers. Marshall's school buses will be a little more greener this fall. Southwest Coaches started making 20 of its school buses more environmentally friendly through a statewide voluntary collaboration of nonprofit organizations, government agencies and businesses called "Project Green Fleet." The project provides school districts and fleet owners with Environmental Protection Agency-approved filters and catalyst mufflers that decrease emissions from diesel bus engines. "The catalyst mufflers reduce emissions by 50 percent," Tom Hey of Southwest Coaches said. "It provides a safer environment for the kids," Hey said. "It's such a positive thing we can do." Hey said he's glad Southwest is doing its part to help save the planet. "If we can do something to help the environment and be able to still operate and function the way we have been, we're able to help," Hey said. "If it makes the bus cleaner and saves the environment, we're doing our part." "It's a win all the way around, how can you go wrong?" Hey added. The retrofits are of no charge to school districts and fleet owners. The project determines the parts for the bus, orders the equipment and arranges the installation. Hey said the new catalyst removes particulates from the air. "It's recycling the oil, so there is no outside breather tube that's dripping oil," Hey said. In the last two years, almost 1,000 buses across the state have been retrofitted through Project Green Fleet. Hey said he's contacted other school bus companies that have taken part in the Project Green Fleet effort, and it's been running well. Other participating fleets include Voyageur Bus Company, St. Louis Park Transportation and Paynesville Motor. "It's a learning curve," Hey said. "When they get the process up and going, it's doing what they said it would." Hey said the plan is to complete the retrofits by the beginning of the school year. If you are interested in more information about Project Green Fleet, contact: Emily Franklin, MN Environmental Initiative, at 612-334-3388x114.

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

"Restoration" of the ADA: The ADA Amendments Act On September 25, 2008, President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) into law. The bill arrived on the President's desk after approval from the House and the Senate earlier in September. The Act, being called a "compromise" between business and worker advocacy groups, is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2009. Originally labeled the "ADA Restoration Act," the ADAAA was ostensibly introduced to "restore" the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 after several Supreme Court decisions limited application of the law. The ADAAA makes clear that protections under the ADA are broad and apply to anyone facing discrimination due to a disability. Changes Under the Act Some of the changes under the Act include: • Major Life Activities (MLA) will be defined as: standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working (along with seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, speaking, breathing and learning). In addition, major life activities include the following "major bodily functions": immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions. Any "material impairment" to one or more MLA's will now be regarded as a disability. • Regarded As: Regardless of whether an individual has a disability, if that individual is perceived as having an impairment by the employer, he or she is "regarded as" impaired and protected. • Transitory and Minor Impairment: The ADA will not apply to "transitory and minor" impairments (those with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less).

• Episodic or Remissive Impairment: The ADA will apply to impairments that are episodic or in remission if the impairment substantially limits a major life activity when active. • Mitigating Measures: Mitigating measures (i.e. medication, prosthetics and assistive technology) may not be used in determining whether someone has a disability. For example, if an employee has a mental illness, the employee will be considered disabled even if he or she is taking medication that mitigates the illness. Changes for Employers In the nearly two decades since the ADA was passed, court decisions have steadily decreased the number of persons who are eligible for the Act's protections. The standard argument for labor and employment defense attorneys has been that if an employee is "able to fully perform the job," he or she is probably not disabled, and if too impaired, he or she is probably "not qualified." Because of this type of analysis, employers have won the majority of ADA charges and lawsuits filed in recent years. The ADAAA will take away many of these arguments from employers and will require a renewed focus on qualifications for positions. Under the ADAAA, employees with physical and/or mental impairments are more likely to be considered "disabled" and entitled to the protections under the ADA. Thus, it will become more important than ever to have accurate and upto-date job descriptions defining essential duties and any required physical/mental functions. Employers should begin reviewing and updating all company job descriptions, with a focus on ensuring that the essential duties and functions are accurate reflections of the job. Employers should also begin reviewing hiring, discipline and termination policies as well to ensure compliance with the law when it goes into effect.

As a valued member of Minnesota School Bus Operator's Association, you are entitled to using Thomas Revnew of Seaton, Beck & Peters’ Legal Hotline free of charge. During each six month period, you will be entitled to two free fifteen-minute telephone calls to the Hotline. MSBOA encourages you to use this free service. When using the hotline, please follow the following procedure: 1.

Call Tom Revnew's direct dial, which is (952) 921-4622.

2.

Identify yourself, your company name and that you are a client of MSBOA.

3.

If Tom Revnew is not available, please leave a voicemail with the information described above and Tom will return the call as soon as possible.

4.

If Tom Revnew is not available and your call is an emergency, please dial "0" when you receive Tom's voicemail and you will be transferred to the receptionist.


10

10 Easiest Ways for You to Save Fuel and Get Better Gas Mileage 1. Don’t drive if you don’t have to. This one comes first because it’s simply the most obvious; if you don’t drive you’re going to save gas. If you can get away with walking or riding a bike to get where you need to go, by all means, do it. 2. If you do have to drive, try and car pool, ride share or mass transit. If you can get a whole bunch of people to ride together, it is obviously going to save on the total amount of gas used. 3. Combine all of your small trips. Continuously starting and turning off your car is pretty tough on your gas mileage, not to mention all of the stop and go driving associated with short trips. Go ahead and combine all of those short trips and you should see an increase in gas mileage. 4. Use moderate acceleration. When the light turns green or it’s your turn to go, don’t floor it and try to get to top speed as quickly as possible. That being said don’t go so slowly that your engine is bogged down, because that’s just as bad for your gas mileage. 5. Try and drive near the speed limit. This one is a bit tricky because a car’s optimal gas mileage is going to vary by make and model, but for the most part, the slower you drive the better gas mileage you’re going to get. So, instead of driving 75 on the highway, go ahead and cut it back to 55 or 60. 6. Be a smooth driver. Don’t tap your brakes and coast when possible. Much like using moderate acceleration, being a smooth and consistent driver once you’re moving will help you significantly improve your gas mileage. 7. Make sure you have the proper tire pressure. Under inflated tires tend to reduce your car’s gas mileage. To get the proper tire pressure, check either your car’s owner’s manual or or the side of your tires. 8. Get rid of all the extra weight. For every extra 100 pounds you carry around in your car, you’re going to reduce your car’s gas mileage by up to 2%. So for heaven’s sake, don’t carry your golf clubs around in your car! 9. Be as aerodynamic as possible - keep windows up and sunroof closed. 10. Reduce the amount of time you sit in idle. Avoid getting stuck in traffic as much as possible and using drive thrus.

For Buses: Eliminate and consolidate routes Reduce the number of bus stops if possible and streamline routes. Look closely at deadhead miles between routes. Increase fees for services Look into alternative or renewable fuels.


11

Straight to the Point Shelly Jonas

What is the law regarding student safety training? MN Statute 123B.90 states that each district must provide public school pupils enrolled in kindergarten through grade 10 with age-appropriate school bus safety training. The school bus safety training must cover the following concepts: (1) transportation by school bus is a privilege and not a right; (2) district policies for student conduct and school bus safety; (3) appropriate conduct while on the school bus; (4) the danger zones surrounding a school bus; (5) procedures for safely boarding and leaving a school bus; (6) procedures for safe street or road crossing; and (7) school bus evacuation. Non-public schools must also comply. Students who are in grades K – 6 must receive their training by the 3rd week of school. Students who are in grades 7 – 10 who have not already received training must receive training or materials by the 6th week of school. Those moving into the district must be trained within four weeks of moving, if they have not received school bus training in their previous school. Upon request of the superintendent of schools, the school transportation safety director in each district must certify to the superintendent that all students transported by school bus within the district have received the school bus safety training. In addition: Kindergarten students may receive training prior to the start of school. Bicycle and pedestrian safety can be included in to the safety training. School districts must make reasonable accommodations for students who speak English as a second language or are disabled. Students in grades K – 3 must receive school bus safety training twice during the school year. School bus evacuation drills must be completed at least once during the school year.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events National School Bus Safety Week "Avoid Harm, Obey The Stop Arm" October 20-24, 2008 MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference January 8-10th, 2009 at Alltel Center in Mankato, MN MSBOA Summer Conference June 7-9th, 2009 at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Straight to the Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

A New Arrival! Congratulations to Shari Danzeisen and her husband, Brent, on the arrival of their third child, Caleb Lloyd Danzeisen. He was born on August 26 weighing in at 7 pounds 2 ounces.


Volume 38 Issue 10 • November 2008

What’s Happening at the Winter Conference?? Shelly Jonas The MSBOA and MAPT Conference Committees have come up with a comprehensive conference that will inform all attendees on a variety of topics. The 2009 conference will be held in Mankato at the Alltel Wireless Center on January 9th & 10th. If you’ve ever been interested in purchasing fuel futures, we will have a representative from Lube Tech to discuss the process. We are very pleased to have several of the most knowledgeable industry experts to discuss current hot topics in school bus transportation. Of course, I can only mean that we will offer a discussion featuring members from our own organization. Last year we covered many assorted topics on routing. This year our panelists will be talking about consultants – the good, the bad and the ugly. Come and find out what happens in other districts when the consultant gets called in. An in depth case study including the contributing factors and what was learned on the Cottonwood Bus crash will be presented by Capt.Urquhart, Lt.Ed Carroll (the new Pupil Transportation Safety Director) and Denny Coughlin of Mpls. Schools. State Representative Mindy Greiling has been a leader at the State Capitol particularly with education committees. She has some ideas for school funding that involve school bus transportation. She is invited to give a keynote address on those ideas Friday afternoon. Friday afternoon the vendor show will once again be held as well as the casino night. It is always fun to relax, talk to friends and find out the latest industry buzz. On Saturday, we have a speaker from the Minnesota Safety Council coming in to talk about creating a safety culture. We all know that keeping safety in the forefront is always the goal for our industry. The presenter, Jan Federov, will talk about the responsibilities of the leader of the organization to direct the culture from the top down. She will also provide tools to measure your current level of safety and where you can improve. Make plans to attend the annual conference today. Mankato is a great city for a weekend getaway – even in January! See the newsletter inserts for reservation information.

Happy Thanksgiving! LOOK INSIDE FOR: WINTER CONFERENCE REGISTRATION INFORMATION


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA Finally the election is over and the commercials and the barrage associated are also over! The commercials start so much earlier and spend more and more every year. I have never understood why people spend almost a billion dollars to get a job that pays $400.000.00. With that logic it explains a lot of the thought process. But what are we left with? The balance in power hangs by a thread. At the state level Republicans have held the Governor's mansion it will be interesting to see what has happened in the House and Senate and see what shifts have happened and how will we be effected. At the national level who know what rhetoric can you believe. It rarely turns out as bad as what the opponent predicts but only time will tell. As the time continues to fly by it's hard to believe that the first quarter has flown by and the holidays are upon us.

It sure would be nice to have life slow down for a while.

Registration is out for the 2009 joint conference. Please take time to fill out your and make plans to attend.

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Sincerely, Thomas Hey

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections

As you are reading this column the election will be over. No more ads on TV and radio. No more yard signs and knocks on the door with literature for campaigns. It was very tough race for the Presidency, the US Senate race, a number of Congressional seats, and the State House. We can be happy the campaigns are over, but we should be proud that so many folks that were brave enough to put their name on the line to serve in Washington, DC or in St. Paul, Minnesota! Democracy is important enough to take time to listen to commercials, read literature, and make hard choices. I hope everyone voted. We are all set for the next two years! It should be exciting.

Governor Pawlenty has also released a K-12 education funding plan that calls for more teacher accountability.

Back to policy matters:

Type III Vans Type III van drivers are now subject to a complete physical examination, background check, drug and alcohol testing, and training requirements—the same as regular school bus drivers. Type III school bus drivers will continue to have to process a class D drivers’ license. However, they do not need a school bus endorsement. The new law exempts school district employees whose “normal duties” do not include bus driving from the new Type III requirements. Senator Rick Olseen (D-Harris) is expected to introduce legislation in 2009 to make it clear that teachers and coaches are exempted from the new Type III provisions. Type III drivers were banned from using a cell phone while operating the vehicle. MSBOA will continue to work to clarify this complicated law but also work to include as many drivers of students, van or bus, under the same rules and regulations. SERVICES, INC.

K-12 Education Finance We have invited Rep. Mindy Greiling (D-Roseville) to speak to the joint MSBOA/MAPT conference in January in Mankato. She has accepted and will speak on January 9 over lunch. Late in the 2008 legislative session, Rep. Greiling introduced HF4178. The bill would modify the current K-12 school finance system and create a new education funding framework. Greiling, Chair of the House K-12 Education Finance Division, has held a number of hearings around the state on this bill and the need to reform the way we fund elementary and secondary education in Minnesota. The legislative proposal, which is expected to be reintroduced early in the 2009 session, currently contains two changes to the transportation funding revenue a school district would receive. In addition to the current sparsity aid a school district receives, the district would also receive up to 20 percent of the district’s total regular to and from school transportation costs for the year for hazardous transportation aid. The district would also receive five percent of their state revenue for school bus purchases. If a district contracts out for school bus services, that five percent money could be used for other school district needs based on school board decision. The bill was also introduced in the Senate as SF3828 by Senator Terri Bonoff (D-Minnetonka). The MSBOA supports the hazardous safety efforts, but has concerns around the unbalanced school bus purchase provision for districts that operate their own fleet. We have asked Chair Greiling to talk to us about transportation and ways to reform the transportation funding system. The MSBOA is interested in returning to the past K-12 education funding model that creates and maintains a dedicated account for transportation of students to and from school.

With the 2009 Legislature expected to be looking at a big general fund deficit, the House, Senate, and Administration will have a lot of time to talk about change in the K-12 education funding system but limited funds, if not cuts in budgets, to bring about true reform to this big institution.

Black Financial

Exhaust Pipe Requirements At the fall board meeting, representatives of the Hoglund Bus Company of Monticello asked for assistance regarding an apparent conflict in the manufacturing requirements of the exhaust pipe placement. Current national school bus standards contain two sections, one for Exhaust (chassis specs), and one for Tailpipes (bus body specs) requirements. Continued on page 11.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Introductions were made. We were welcomed to Forest Lake by LeAnn Livingston. Because there isn't a member from the Department of Education, LeAnn is going to contact Kelly W or the Commissioner to explain the importance of that contact for us and see if someone from their department can attend each month.. DPS: Ed Carroll/Paul Davis/Ken Urquhart There are a lot of questions still coming in about Type III school buses. A driving test (ride along) is not a requirement. Make sure the rated capacity is 10 or less passengers. Taking seats out of a 15 passenger van cannot be used. If you suspect a driver of being impaired call the police to have them tested if you want criminal charges to be done. If you go to a private testing place, make sure their certification is current. \Ken stated that he will be helping to put a case study presentation together for the Cottonwood crash. Both Ken and Ed will be presenting this at the winter conference Jan. 8-10. The Department of Public safety will be putting bus inspection results on the web site by Jan. 1. School District contacts will also be listed. It will have a basic summary of their last inspection. Superintendents have been notified about the Type III driver changes. Law Compliance- Duane Bartels Duane brought copies of the 6 sections of the Model School Bus Training Manual for people here to take a section. The sections need to be reviewed and make suggested changes. These need to be back to Duane by our December 17th meeting. Hopefully this can then be put on the web in January 2009. All of these are on the DPS, State Patrol, Commercial Vehicle web site. If anyone has any suggested changes please e-mail following people:

Unit 1 Ray Kroll rckroll@comcast.net Unit 2 Kristin Johnson kristinj@endenpr.k12.mn.us Unit 3 Emily White ewhite@sowashco.k12.mm.us Unit 4 Dave Mohr dmohr@superiortransit.com Unit 5 Duane Bartels duane.bartels@state.mn.us Unit 6 Lori Jonason Lori.joanason@minnetonka.k12.mn.us There is one more inspector to be hired and then the department will have 14 inspectors plus Duane. The patrol recently did a spot check on a special education bus where a student did not have his seat belt on because there wasn't one that fit him. Drivers need to have longer belts installed if this is the case with any of their students. Driver and Vehicle Services: Deb Carlson • Over 900 background checks were processed in September. • Make sure that Type III physicals are NOT sent to the Department. • Diabetic waivers have 2 parts now so the second part will now be included for our drivers with diabetes. • When faxing physicals or background checks to the department make sure you fax it to 651-297-4447. This goes directly to an e-mail so it can't be lost. • In November some units in the department will be moving locations in Town Square. • Chaska station is still not open but hopefully by the end of November. • A reminder that there are no waivers for Type III school bus drivers • If you have any problems or con-

cerns please let Deb know. TTT- Ray Kroll Dates for 2009 are July 14-17 in Hinckley. Poster contest- Cindy McKay The 2009 theme is 'Avoid Harm, Obey the Stop Arm' New Business: If you know of anyone interested in attending these meetings please encourage them to attend. If you would like to host a meeting at some time let us know that also. Meeting was adjourned at 11:40 AM Respectfully submitted, Emily White


5

Straight to the Point Shelly Jonas

Q.

What is the waiver process for Type III drivers?

Answer: Currently, there is no process to obtain waivers for Type III drivers. Typically when a driver does not meet all of the requirements of the medical exam, a driver may apply for a waiver under Minnesota Statutes, section 221.0314. However, these rules only apply to Commercial Driver’s Licenses and allow for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to issue a waiver. Type III driver’s requirements fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety, not the Minnesota Department of Transportation, therefore MN DOT has no authority to issue waivers. Furthermore, there is no state statute granting authority to the Department of Public Safety to issue waivers. If you would like to have this driver to continue to drive for your operation, you may wish to have your driver obtain a Commercial Driver’s License and follow the waiver process as it applies to the CDL driver requirements.

®

CAT C7 ACERT ENGINE

The Perfect Fit for School Buses Features advanced emissions technology that exceeds clean air goals without sacrificing engine performance and reliability.  Mid range, 190-300 hp  Up to 4% better fuel economy, based on new Cat common rail fuel system  Leading edge electronics  Best life-to-overhaul  Easy maintenance  Cat 5-year warranty for school bus operators  Extended service plans, up to 10 years Call Greg Ross for more information.

Shakopee, MN

952.887.4582 • 888.320.4292

You Can Have This Billboard In Your Town!!!! The MSBOA has redesigned and purchased 100 of these full color, eye-catching, billboard size posters with safety funds. The cost is $250.00 for a 30 day billboard through Lamar - if your area is covered by another company the price may be different - but you still can arrange to get the billboards sent to the advertising company that covers your area. It is important to note that in many cases if they do not sell the space, you could get additional months at no cost. This is an excellent way to educate the driving public on the importance of school bus stop arm laws and a great reminder in the fall of the year! If you are interested in having a safety billboard in your area, please contact: Mark Devore at Lamar Advertising 320-2533000 or 800-777-4896.


6 Final Rule: NHTSA requires lap belt on certain size of school bus and adds performance standards for voluntarily installed on larger school buses This final rule upgrades the school bus occupant protection requirements of the Federal motor vehicle safety standards, primarily by amendments to FMVSS No. 222, ‘‘School bus passenger seating and crash protection’’ (49 CFR 571.222), and also by amendments to FMVSS Nos. 207, 208, and 210 relating to the strength of the seating system and seat belt anchorages. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) preceding this final rule was published onNovember 21, 2007 (72 FR 65509; Docket No. NHTSA–2007–0014). This final rule also provides information to state and local jurisdictions for them to consider when deciding whether they should order seat belts on large school buses (school buses with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kilograms (kg) (10,000 pounds (lb)), and responds to comments on the agency’s discussion in the NPRM of recommended ‘‘best practices’’ concerning the belts on the large buses. This final rule’s most significant changes to FMVSS No. 222 involve: • Requiring small school buses to have a Type 2 seat belt assembly (a combination of pelvic and upper torso restraints (see FMVSS No. 209, S3), referred to in this document as a ‘‘lap/ shoulder belt’’) at each passenger seating position (these buses are currently required to have lap belts); • Increasing the minimum seat back height requirement from 508 millimeters (mm) (20 inches) from the seating reference point (SgRP) to 610 mm (24 inches) for all school buses; • Incorporating test procedures into the standard to test lap/shoulder belts in small school buses and voluntarily installed lap and lap/shoulder belts in large school buses to ensure both the strength of the anchorages and the compatibility of the seat with compartmentalization; and The fourth initiative, for self-latching mechanisms, responds to an NTSB recommendation to NHTSA Lap/shoul-

der belts and appropriate anchorages for the driver and front passenger (if provided) seating position, lap belts or lap/shoulder and appropriate anchorages for all other passenger seating positions. • Requiring all school buses with seat bottom cushions that are designed to flip up or be removable, typically for easy cleaning, to have a self-latching mechanism. The first three upgrades are based on the findings of NHTSA’s school bus research program, which the agency conducted in response to the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA–21). Requiring small school buses to have lap/shoulder belts for all passengers and raising the seat back height on all school buses to 610 mm (24 inches) makes the highly protective interior of the school bus even safer. Further, as new designs of lap/shoulder belts intended for large school buses are emerging in the marketplace, the third initiative will require lap/shoulder belts to be complementary with compartmentalization, ensuring that the high level of passenger crash protection is enhanced and not degraded by any seat belt system. This rulemaking engaged the agency and public in a new dialogue on the merits of seat belts on large school buses. It also provided a forum for a fresh look at divergent positions on the belt issue and an opportunity to explore the implications of the school bus research results, the innovation of new technologies, and the realities of current pupil transportation needs. About 127 individuals and organizations commented on the NPRM, with many taking the position that lap/shoulder belts should be required on large school buses and with many opposed to that idea. Some individuals further sought to have the agency prohibit the installation of lap belts on large school buses. Many commenters focused on the emerging seat belt technology that would enable school bus manufacturers to install lap/ shoulder belts on large

school buses without reducing passenger capacity, and asked NHTSA to ensure that the performance requirements under consideration would not prohibit that technology. Others did not believe any type of belt system should be encouraged for large school buses. After consideration of the comments, we make final most of the technical changes to the FMVSSs proposed in the NPRM, but have adjusted test procedures and some performance requirements to accommodate the emerging seating design technologies. We have also listened to each of the comments in support of and in opposition to the various issues involved in this rulemaking and have adjusted some of our views, while affirming others. However, this final rule cannot and does not definitively conclude the debate as to whether a State or local jurisdiction should require seat belts on its large school buses. Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (‘‘Safety Act’’) (49 U.S.C. 30101 et seq.) the agency is to prescribe motor vehicle safety standards that are practicable, meet the need for motor vehicle safety, and that are stated in objective terms. Under the Safety Act, ‘‘motor vehicle safety’’ means the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident * * *.’’ 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(8).

Continued on page 8.


News and Views

7

A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

Trying to Find Self-Awareness By Jared Nelson, Nelson School Buses, Sabin, MN Over the past couple months I've had the opportunity of training and hiring some school bus drivers. While doing this I realized how much emphasis I put on looking for selfawareness in potential employees. Self-awareness is defined as the recognition of our personality, our strengths and weaknesses, and our likes and dislikes. I feel the best way to find out others self-awareness is to do all you can to understand your own self-awareness. Recognizing self-awareness can help in determining how you will react when stressed or under pressure. We need to do all we can to understand our self. The more you understand yourself the more likely you will be able to make productive decisions. One of the greatest gifts you can have is the ability to see yourself as you feel you should be seen. The business of getting inside yourself, of learning how to learn the real you is one of life's most perplexing puzzles. You must accept that you and you alone are in control of your future. As a general rule, the earlier you set goals, make a commitment, and take action, the greater the longterm results. You must not view self-awareness planning in terms of today, next week, or next year, but as a long, unfolding journey. People that demonstrate work spirit have a sense that everything that they have ever done contributes to what they are working toward. Long-term planning, goalsetting, sacrifice, and patience are some of the qualities you must have in obtaining a successful future. Too many people are frustrated because they did not take the time to determine what will make them happy at work. You have the right to select work environments that will make you happy. One requirement for success is "people proficiency", the ability and desire to understand other people and to communicate with them effectively. Developing positive habits and skills depends on your self esteem. Building your self-esteem is the most important shortcut of all to success. It will change your entire approach to life. When your self-esteem is high, you face problems by solving them instead of placing blame. A high self-esteem means putting yourself out there instead of hanging back and wondering. It means when you fall, you learn from it and try again and again until you succeed.

With a healthy self-esteem, you'll find more meaning in your life. You will face your day-to-day challenges with confidence. Also, the better you feel about yourself, the better other people feel about you. You will have more confidence to meet new people and deal more effectively with children, parents and school officials. High achievers tend to plan life so strictly that there's no chance to "goof" off. It's generally best to make changes one step at a time. That way it's not such a shock to your system, and each small victory reinforces your commitment to making the next step. There are many wonderful stories of ordinary people who have found a way to rise to the challenges of life. People who set clear, vivid, measurable goals get what they want. Goal setting is a critical part of building positive habits and a high self-esteem. Reaching career goals requires focusing on them and taking appropriate action. The key to the whole concept of goalsetting is commitment, without which no doors will open for you.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Continued on Page 8.

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8 Self-Awareness Continued from Page 7. We have more control of our lives than we think. You can use moments of low self-esteem to your advantage. Depression, the blues, and anxiety alert you that something is wrong in your life. Once you have this signal, you should start correcting or recharting your course. With pain comes growth, and the growth not only makes the pain hurt less, it also makes it useful and meaningful. Make it your goal to surround yourself with positive-thinking people, people who are excited about life and its possibilities. They'll support you in your growth and allow you to support them in theirs. That's a big part of what life and friendship are all about. There are several planning strategies for making your goals into a reality. One of the simplest and most effective ways to achieve your goals is to channel the power of your imagination through the visualization process. Low self-esteem makes people passive which will make them take more pleasure in suffering over their problems than in solving them. Visualization often takes time to emerge and grow. Throughout the day, visualization is useful for short-term goals. Successful people are constantly looking for new ways to impact their environment. When you take the initiative, you experience the good feelings of accomplishment and control over your life. If you want to do well in life, adopt the "do-something" philosophy. Winners are separated from losers simply by what they achieve. Take charge of planning your future every new action and every initiative involve a risk. Learn from your failures. Super achievers generally have a long list of failures behind them. Looking at yourself may help you find an employee that will add to the vision that you have for your businesses future. In order to increase positive relationships with children, parents, school officials, and the community, you need to be honest with yourself and hire a person that is an extension of you and your views. Don't be complacent with just "filling the seat."

Seat Belts: Federal Rule Continued from Page 6. After considering all available information, including the comments to the NPRM, we cannot conclude that a requirement for seat belts on large school buses will protect against an unreasonable risk of accidents or an unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident. That is, based on available information, a science-based, data-driven determination that there should be a Federal requirement for the belts cannot be supported at this time. Whether the same conclusion can be made by a State or local jurisdiction is a matter for local decision-makers and we encourage them to make the decisions most appropriate for their individual needs to most safely transport their students to and from school. This final rule provides the most up-to-date information known to the agency on seat belts on large school buses. It discusses principles that the agency has weighed about belts on large buses and attempts to clear up some misunderstanding expressed in some of the comments about the benefits of belts in school bus side impacts and rollover crashes. It affirms that States should have the choice of ordering seat belts on their large school buses since the belts could enhance the already very safe passenger protection afforded by large school buses, and makes sure that these voluntarily-installed belts will not degrade compartmentalization.

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

It's Not Just Wal-Mart They're After! Employers' Wage and Hour Liability Nightmare Plaintiffs' wage and hour lawyers recently obtained a $6.5 million dollar judgment against Wal-Mart in a Minnesota State Court in Dakota County - and that's before attorneys' fees, punitive damages and a few other goodies are awarded by the jury. Minnesota and Minnesota trial lawyers unfortunately are in the forefront of this area of the law and court filings are growing faster than in other types of lawsuits. Claims that restroom breaks were denied were highlighted in the press coverage of this case, but most of the damages arose from claims that routine breaks of less than 20 minutes were not paid, that employees worked "off the clock" before and after punching in/out and that "donning and doffing" (putting on and taking off uniforms) and other ancillary activities should have been on paid time. This means that these claims, despite the millions of dollars in claimed damages, are all based on a few minutes here and there, times many employees, times 2 or 3 years. Most employers, not just Wal-Mart, have compliance issues with federal and state wage and hour laws and they are all targets for plaintiffs' wage and hour attorneys. All employers are subject to archaic state and federal minimum wage, overtime and paid time rules, with very limited exceptions for truly supervisory, executive or professional ("exempt") personnel, and many are also subject to the even more incoherent and ambiguous Davis-Bacon requirements and Minnesota prevailing wage guidelines (recently found unconstitutionally vague by a Minnesota administrative law judge). These laws are virtually unchanged from the 1930s and are very difficult (but not impossible) to synchronize with merit pay, bonus, pay for performance, tip sharing or multiple pay rate systems, and do not allow "comp time" or other employer and employee friendly, flexible solutions to doing the work when you can, must or want to and gaining free time. Trial lawyers, labor unions and other special interest groups resist changes like "comp time," rule simplification and removal of "victimless" violations because they prefer the "ambush" opportunities presented by Wal-Mart style lawsuits to clear rules which everyone can understand. But, make no mistake, the current law is a time bomb for most employers, and good intentions are not a defense to non-compliance. In fact, the Department of Labor typically won't even let you offset against claimed wage and hour liability, the amounts you actually paid employees, but didn't have to and wouldn't have if you'd known wage and hour rules applied to them. The wage and hour laws are not "common sensical." If you haven't done so recently, you should have experienced labor and employment law counsel audit your pay practices, job descriptions and policies to make corrections while you can make them in a way that

works for your business, and without a bureaucratic gun to your head. Doing so now may help you avoid retroactive liabilities you didn't plan for and can't pass on to your customers. Some of the areas we recommend be reviewed are these: • Are your "exempt" (supervisory, "administrative" and professional) employees really exempt? • Are you tracking time worked correctly and in a manner you can document and defend? • Are your "break" policies and documentation adequate? • Are you handling overtime as effectively and inexpensively as you can? • Have you explored alternative pay rates for inventory, travel, paperwork, training, on-call and other non-revenue producing work? • Are you not paying for "work time" you are obligated to compensate and can you change practices to avoid or minimize such time? • Can you alter the method you use to authorize and schedule travel and training to reduce wage and hour claims? • Do your job descriptions support exempt status? Plaintiffs' wage and hour attorneys, unions and Department of Labor investigators are pushing wage and hour claims in agency and court proceedings, often in "collective" actions which can combine the back wage claims of dozens, hundreds or thousands of employees. These claims can add liquidated damages, penalties and attorneys' fees for business-killing liabilities covering 2 or 3 years of business. No employers can afford not to assess their exposure in this area. Those who think they only use "independent contractors" are not immune either, because such claims will attack independent contractor status and claim these service providers are "really employees," and agreements to waive such claims by independent contractors may not be effective. Tax, workers' and unemployment compensation insurance and benefit, retirement and medical claims can multiply the back wage claim exposure in these cases as well. Employers should take immediate steps to review planning for compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws.


10

Transportation Issues Notes Shelly Jonas The Transportation Issues Committee met on October 22. Lt. Eddie Carroll, the new head of the Office of Pupil Safety, was introduced to the group. Captain Urquhardt stated that there has been some resistance to doing the behind the wheel evaluation portion of the Type III driver training. In fact, the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials has issued a legislative statement asking for the repeal of the evaluation because behind the wheel evaluation has already occurred in order for the DPS to issue a driver’s license. Although, technically a behind the wheel evaluation is not required. Randy Dukek from Apple Valley Rosemont explained that they made their Driver’s Education teacher the Type III driver’s trainer as well. Lori Jonason shared that they are not having any teachers driving their Type III vehicles and now worries about the kids who have to drive themselves as a result. MAPT talked about their Legislative plans for the upcoming session. They stated that they were interested in working on the definition of a Type A school bus and some of the issues SEIU has been having. MAPT also wished to address some of the language with the drug testing requirements in the Type III law. DPS does not have any plans to bring anything forward with regards to the Type III requirements. Their deadline has long since passed for bringing up new legislation. DPS recommends that any Type III drug testing requirements refer to the Federal requirements. DPS believes there will be some changes in the near future due to the recent news feature revealing issues with drug testing. There was a comment that the entire Type III bill was yet another unfunded mandate and that it would be nice if funds were included in a bill to cover the costs of the physicals and drug tests. Captain Urquhart stated that he would be presenting a case study of their findings in the Cottonwood crash at the joint MSBOA/MAPT conference in January. He also stated that the date of the next stakeholders group would be on December 9th. He stated that they are on track to post school bus inspection results come January. The results would be posted by school district and would include contact information at the school district. There were a number of questions by the group asking for further data. Urquart stated that they see this only as the first step in their response to the State Auditor’s report last year. He suspects that down the road information there will be more improvements to the data so that they can see issues with specific buses and drivers. Urquhart stated that he’d like to remind everyone that if you have a driver who fails an alcohol test, you can always call the police. If they drove to work and then failed the breathalyzer, you may wish to call the police in to issue a DWI. This way the problem is out of your hands and the driver can be terminated because of the revocation. If a driver is drinking in the middle of the afternoon, it’s likely not the first time they’ve done it. Most likely you are dealing with a problem drinker. Urquhart informed the group that the DPS has one piece of legislation coming forward this session. The DPS would like to simplify the requirements for a post crash inspection that would be more consistent with other commercial vehicles. The current law has a dollar threshold of damage listed resulting in a lot of questions about whether or not there needs to be an inspection. Urquhart also mentioned that the Wheelock Parkway in St. Paul continues to be an issue with buses who choose to cross the bridge in violation of the weight limit. He stated that he cannot believe with what happened with the 35W Bridge that this is even an issue. The St. Paul bridge has a lower rating than the 35W bridge did.

Continued on page 11.


11 Transportation Issues Continued from page 10. Keith Paulson and Kelly Woiska were planning on attending the MASBO conference to present the Best Practices Guide and Model Contract to that group. Woiska mentioned she saw in MSBOA’s newsletter that there needs to be some change perhaps to the insurance requirements listed in the model contract. Shelly Jonas would forward the information to John Thomas. Randy Dukek discussed some information he obtained regarding purchasing fuel futures. He stated that there is a consortium with the City of Minneapolis where they were able to purchase millions of gallons and that school districts within the seven county metro area would be able to take part in that. David Peterson stated that MAPT is also interested in pursuing a legislative change to the allowed methods of allocated costs that the Department of Education has been using the past couple of years. MAPT believes that in districts that are contracted, the contract rate should be used because that is the actual cost. MAPT was meeting to discuss their legislative plans immediately following Transportation Issues. The next Transportation Issues meeting was set for December 10th.

Legislative Update Continued from Page 3. The exhaust chassis section calls for new buses to furnish an exhaust system with a tailpipe to exit at the rear of the bus or at the left side of the bus body. The tailpipe/bus body specs call the tailpipe shall exit to the left of the emergency exit door in the rear of the vehicle or to the left side of the bus in front of or behind the rear drive axle. The 2008 legislature approved the 2005 National Standards were with some exceptions. However, no exceptions were made for tailpipe or exhaust standards, and therefore, buses manufactured for Minnesota will have to have a left exit tailpipe unless state law is modified to allow bus manufacturers to follow only the chassis specs which would allow left side tailpipe exhaust systems, but not mandate it. Hoglund buses have exhaust tailpipes the exit on the right side of the bus. MSBOA is looking at possible legislation to assist Hoglund and other bus manufacturers that have similar buses in inventory or in production. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, will be meeting early this fall to begin to prepare a legislative agenda for the 2009 session! As always, we are interested in your ideas and input. If you have any issues or concerns that MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com. Drive Safe and enjoy the early winter!

Get a neighboring Contractor to join MSBOA

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference January 9-10th, 2009 at Alltel Center in Mankato, MN MSBOA Summer Conference June 14-16th, 2009 at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Straight to the Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

Don’t Forget! Register now for the upcoming MSBOA/MAPT Winter Conference January 9-10, 2009


Volume 38 Issue 11 • December 2008

Help Yourself... Shari Danzeisen

In today’s world, daily tasks are made easier by many kinds of electronic equipment. Think of only 15 years ago. How many people used a cell phone like they do now? If you did, they were the big phones that you had to carry around in a big square purse-like bag. Now, a large percentage of elementary aged school children riding your buses have one in their pockets or backpacks! There isn’t a time or place that people are not “connected”. Many other things are made easier by computers. Think of how your business ran 15 years ago. Did you have a computer? Did you still do many of your business related tasks by hand at the time? Do you now? How about the internet? Think of how many people, maybe yourself included rely heavily on the use of the internet for a multitude of tasks. The capabilities of email have changed how you do business as well. You use your office phone less and use email more. A paper letter - what is that? While all of these technologies are helpful, people run the risk of becoming too dependent on these time savers. Too dependent on just having things automatically done for them. If they can’t get it off the web, they don’t see it. If it isn’t emailed to them, they don’t read it. Because of this dependence on receiving information automatically, the same can happen with attendance at our conferences. People don’t see the benefit in attending a conference because they figure if it is important enough, the information will be given to them through email, the internet or our newsletter, not realizing that an entire presentation is not printed in the newsletter. At the MSBOA Office, we often get phone calls from members looking for help on clarification of a certain regulation. More importantly, we get calls from companies who are in trouble because they did not get clarification on a certain regulation. We get these calls when it is too late to help and they are going to receive a fine or their school district is looking to hire someone else for their transportation contract. Often times, it is clarification they could have gotten at a recent conference. Now, our industry is facing a very critical time. The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill co-sponsored by our new Democratic President-Elect, Barack Obama, has a very good chance of passing. The Employee Free Choice Act is a bill that forces recognition of a labor union if a majority of employees sign an authorization card indicating interest in the union. If over 50% of your employees are interested in hearing what the union has to say and sign an authorization card - BAM - it is too late. The union now represents your employees without them having to vote on it. If this bill is signed into law, it will change how every one of us do business. How can you help yourself? Plan to attend our winter conference. On Saturday, at 1:00PM, attorney Tom Revnew, an expert on labor unions can help you prepare if a labor union attempts to organize your employees. This presentation was added after the recent Presidential Election, because it is so important that members learn what they can and cannot do when presented with a labor union organization. MSBOA’s strength lies in it’s membership. Please become an active part of your association.

LOOK INSIDE FOR: WINTER CONFERENCE REGISTRATION INFORMATION


2 The Operator

FROM THE PRESIDENT

MISSION STATEMENT:

Thomas Hey

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES.

SOUTHWEST COACHES, INC. MARSHALL, MINNESOTA As I look to the calendar, it’s hard to believe that the holidays are here!

THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302.

With that being said, it appears that once again this will be an active legislative session when January rolls around. We will most likely be looking at new ideas on how to pay for education and some “tweaking” of the Type III driver requirements, and as always there will be surprises in store for us.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com

The Winter Conference is also right around the corner. The agenda has something for everyone this year. If you haven’t been able to make a conference for a while, take the time to step out of your comfort zone and do it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2008.

Being that it is the season of sharing, please take time to be thankful for those around you. If you are able, try to get out and make a real difference in someone’s life.

MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED.

Remember: Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.00 a day. Every year, 6 million children in the world die from malnutrition before their 5th birthday. Happy Holidays to All!

CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Tom

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008 PRESIDENT TOM HEY

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

612.755.3100 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL

KURT SCHUMANN, MINNEAPOLIS

218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY 651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@earthlink.net

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA 507.373.1467 / FAX 373.2714 albc@myclearwave.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA 952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 bkoch99@earthlink.net

507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE 320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

MICHAEL MORAN, BAXTER 218.829.6955 / FAX 829.6671 mike@reichertbus.com

JARED NELSON, SABIN 218.789.7533 / FAX 789.7884 nelsonjn@i29.net

763.533.0313/FAX 362.9470 kurt_schumann@lpsg.com


3

LEGISLATIVE REPORT By Gary Botzek, Capitol Connections As I write this article on a Saturday in my office in St. Paul, I am watching the snow melt from the bright, warm sunshine. My window faces the State Capitol and I get to see the big beautiful building just about every day. Light travel and limited action-but it is the weekend. I have noticed increased action in and around the Capitol since the November 4 election. The campaigns and vote produced 134 Representatives and two new State Senators. Recounts continue in some of those races, but it looks like there will be 23 new members of the Minnesota House and as mentioned, two new Senators. The Democrats now control the State House by an 87-47 margin and the State Senate by a 46-21 margin. The four caucuses have met and picked their leaders. Committee assignments have been made or reassigned. Some committees have met in November and more are expected in December. All in advance of the marathon start date of January 6, 2009. 2009 is a budget session year. The Governor must produce a "balanced" budget early in the session and then the 201 members have a chance to accept it or change it. A projected deficit of between $1 billion and $4 billion will make it difficult to start new programs or grow current efforts. Cuts probably will be the talk of the town. Other issues that the MSBOA will involved in: K-12 Education Finance Rep. Mindy Greiling (D-Roseville) is scheduled to speak to the joint MSBOA/MAPT conference on January 9 in Mankato. We have asked her to brief the members on her legislation-referred to as a "New Minnesota Miracle." The "original Minnesota Miracle" was passed in 1971 at the urging

of then Governor Wendell Anderson. That "miracle" shifted K-12 funding for the local property tax system to the state through the general fund. Late in the 2008 legislative session, Rep. Greiling, chair of the House K-12 Education Finance Committee, introduced legislation that would "redesign" the current K-12 school finance system. The legislative proposal, expected to be reintroduced early in the 2009 session, contains two changes to the transportation funding revenue a school district would receive. In addition to the current sparsity aid a school district receives, the district would also receive up to 20 percent of the district's total regular to and from school transportation costs for the year for hazardous transportation aid. The district would also receive five percent of their state revenue for school bus purchases. If a district contracts out for school bus services, that five percent money could be used for other school district needs based on school board decision. The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Terri Bonoff (D-Minnetonka). The MSBOA supports the hazardous safety efforts, but has concerns around the unbalanced school bus purchase provision for districts that operate their own fleet. The MSBOA is interested in returning to the past K-12 education funding model that creates and maintains a dedicated account for transportation of students to and from school. Type III Vans New Type III van driver's regulations went into effect on September 1, 2008. The "tightening" of state law was passed as a result of a tragic fatal van accident in the Forest Lake School District a couple of years ago. One student and the driver were killed. Type III drivers are now subject to a complete physical examination, background check, drug and alcohol test-

ing and training r e q u i r e m e n ts the same as regular school bus drivers. Type III school bus drivers must maintain a class D drivers' license, but they do not need to have a school bus endorsement. The new law exempts school district employees whose "normal duties" do not include bus driving from the new Type III requirements. The State Patrol has been working with school districts and bus contractors on the interpretation of this new law and enforcement has been limited to a phased in educational time frame. Legislation is expected in 2009 to clarify state law that would allow teachers, coaches and volunteers to be exempt from all Type III provisions. Continued on page 5.

Black Financial SERVICES, INC.

P.O. Box 346 Avon, MN 56310 (800) 279-2374 Margo Black and Donald Black specialize in the following: EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTING Cafeteria Plans (Section 125) 401K, Simple IRA’s & Profit Sharing Group & Individual Health, Dental, Disability, Life, & Cancer Insurance INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Mutual Funds IRA’s Annuities Private Retirement Plans Life Insurance Estate Planning Securities Offered through SII Investments, Inc. Member NASD, SIPC and an Investment Advisor.


4

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee The meeting was held on November 19, 2009. Under DPS Ed's report the first bullet, second sentence should read 'A driving test (ride along) is not required but you must have alternative training. Driver must be trained and certified in the safe operation of a Type 3 school bus.' MDE - Kelly Wosika Kelly is joining this committee representing the Department of Education. If you have any questions please contact her. She has been getting questions from schools about school bus safety curriculum from teachers. DPS Waivers for school bus drivers involves looking at criminal history an their driving record. If there is anything you would like added to the department web site let Ed know. There will be changes made after the first of the year. New Type 3 legislation is being proposed through organizations for 2009. There have been 4 impaired school bus drivers cited recently. Beginning in January the patrol will be reviewing drug and alcohol training files. If not in compliance it will be sent to the FMCSA. Make sure you have people trained and certified. People trained for reasonable suspicion should be those that meet drivers face to face each day. Beginning in Jan. School bus inspections will be posted on the web beginning with the January inspections. On the FMCSA web site there is information of proposed rule-making. One of the proposals is to have a 30 day learners permit and another proposal would be that the permit holder would have a plastic card for the permit. If you want to comment go onto their web site. NHTSA is looking at rule making for lap and shoulder belts.

Law Compliance- Duane Bartels Please remember that proposed changes for the Model school Bus Driver Training Manuel must be turned in at next months meeting Dec. 17th. Duane did inspections at the Dome during the soccer tournaments. There were several things that they found including one driver whose license said corrective lenses and she had had laser surgery and didn't change her license. She could not drive the bus back that day. There was also a trailer whose battery for the brakes was dead. Remember if you have a trailer that is more than 10,000 pounds being pulled by a bus the driver needs a class A license. When a driver gets a new license (hard card) make sure you check the information to make sure it is correct. Also check the receipt. DVS - Kris Ulbrich If you are a private company and want to use the State for license checks you can do so by entering into a contract with the State. Records are $5 each. Districts can do this for free by statute. The web site is dvs.dataservices@state.mn.us. Background checks are being looked at much closer than in the past. Sex crimes, drug crimes and crimes against a person will not be waived. If someone wants to request a waiver they need to write to the CDL unit. Remember there are no medical waivers for a Type 3 vehicle driver. Drivers may want to get a CDL if they would need a waiver for a medical condition that could be waived on a CDL. The exam stations are fully staffed now. The third party testers reviews have been completed. TTT- Ray Kroll Dates for 2009 are July 14-17 in Hinckley. There is a possibility that the mechanics training may also be in conjunctyion with TTT.

Ray recognized three more staff members for their work on TTT in 2008. Sherry case, Renee Lehman and Kristin Johnson all received plaques. Poster contest- Cindy McKay The 2009 theme is 'Cross In View Is the Right Thing To Do'. The rules will be e-mailed to everyone and hopefully MAPT and MSBOA will get them on their web sites. Posters are due to Cindy McKay by April 6th. Rodeo -Sherry case The road-eo will be on Saturday May 30th. We don't have a site yet. Continued on Page 8.


5

SCHOOL BUS CRASHES According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s 2007 annual report on crash facts, there were 680 school bus crashes in which a school bus was directly involved, a few involved more than one school bus. In all there were 693 school buses in crashes. This is a 9% increase from last year. For 48% of the school drivers, officer reports showed there was “no clear contributing factor.” The two contributing factors cited most often were driver inattention or distraction (21%) and failure to yield right of way (16%). The third most frequently cited contributing factor was illegal or improper speed (8%). In 2007, there was seven fatal school bus crashes resulting in eight deaths. Six of the fatalities were in other vehicles. Two of the fatalities were pedestrians. One of the pedestrians was a 5-year-old that fell off the curb and was struck by the bus. Generally speaking, school bus travel is very safe. The school bus is a large and heavy vehicle that provides good protection for its occupants. However since the buses can carry many passengers, serious crashes could possibility cause many injuries.

Mandatory Direct Observations Put on Hold The Federal Regulation mandating that all follow-up and return-to-duty drug tests be collected under direct observation has been put on hold for the time being. The U.S. Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit has temporarily delayed the November 1st Direct Observation (DO) requirement for DOT return-to-duty and follow-up tests. This is an “administrative stay” until the Court completes its review on the matter. Therefore, DO for return-to-duty and follow-up testing will continue to be an employer option, rather than mandatory. Watch for more information on this issue.

Legislative Update Cont. from page 3. MSBOA will continue to work to clarify these provisions in state law but also work to work for driver's regulations and qualifications apply to all drivers of students, whether the vehicle be a van, car or bus. Exhaust Pipe Requirements MSBOA is interested in exempting one provision for the 2005 National School Bus Manufacturing Standards that deals with rear exit placement of exhaust tailpipes. It would appear that there is an apparent conflict in the manufacturing requirements of the exhaust pipe placement. Current national school bus standards contain two sections, one for Exhaust (chassis specs), and one for Tailpipes (bus body specs) requirements. The exhaust chassis section calls for new buses to furnish an exhaust system with a tailpipe of sufficient length to exit at the rear of the bus or at the left side of the bus body no more than 18 inches forward the front edge of the rear wheel house opening. The tailpipe/bus body specs call for a tailpipe to be flush with or not extend more than two inches beyond the perimeter of the body for side-exit pipe or the bumper for rear-exit pipe. The tailpipe shall exit to the left of the emergency exit door in the rear of the vehicle or to the left side of the bus in front of or behind the rear drive axle.

The tailpipe exit location on the Types A-1 or B-1 buses may be in accordance with the manufacturer's standards. The tailpipe shall not exit beneath any fuel filler location or beneath any emergency door. The 2008 legislature approved the 2005 National Standards with some exceptions. However, no exceptions were made for tailpipe or exhaust standards, and therefore, buses manufactured for Minnesota will have to have a left exit tailpipe unless state law is modified to allow bus manufacturers to follow only the chassis specs which would allow left side tailpipe exhaust systems, but not mandate it. Hoglund buses have exhaust tailpipes that exit on the right side of the bus. MSBOA is looking at possible legislation to assist Hoglund and other bus manufacturers that have similar buses in inventory or in production. The MSBOA legislative committee, chaired by Gaylen Lenz of Madelia Bus Service, has begun to prepare a legislative agenda for the 2009 session. That agenda includes the issues listed above, but also provisions that will be shared with the board at the annual meeting in January. If you have any issues or concerns that MSBOA should be addressing in terms of public policy or funding please contact me directly at 651-293-9295 or email at gary@capitolconnections.com or contact Gaylen directly at topbus65@hotmail.com. Drive safely and enjoy the snow and the bright sunshine!


6

FTA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on definition of School Bus Operations Shelly Jonas On Tuesday, November 18, 2008 The Federal Transit Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning several definitions regarding school bus operations regulations. Comments on the proposed rulemaking must be received by February 17, 2009. You can fax comments to 1-202-493-2251 or go to the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov The docket No. is FTA-2008-0044. The proposed rulemaking is to provide clarification in the aftermath of the RochesterGenesse Regional Transportation Authority v. Hynes-Charin case. If you recall the case, the US District Court for the Western District of New York set aside the FTA’s interpretation of its school bus operations. The FTA feels the court’s decision is problematic because it creates a loophole that would permit FTA’s grantees to displace private school bus operators. The crux of the Rochester-Genesse case was the court’s narrow interpretation of the word “exclusive”. Since the school routes were technically not closed to the general public, the court found that they were not exclusive to school students. However, the FTA felt that the routes were designed so that no one from the general public would ever want to use the routes because they were essentially school bus routes. This latest rulemaking proposes to amend the definition of the term “school bus operations” to mean, “transportation that a reasonable person would conclude was designed primarily to accommodate students and school personnel, without regard to demand from the non-student public.” This would allow grantees to design routes that would serve students only if it was designed to serve some segment of the non-student general public as well. The FTA strongly feels that Congress wanted to support the private school bus operators from unfair government competition. Earlier this summer, the FTA received over 600 comments regarding the proposed policy statement. The FTA clearly heard the comments because it appears they are attempting to appease the affected parties. Our industry cannot rest on its laurels. Just last month, the New York Times ran an article, “Creativity Helps Rochester’s Transit System Turn a Profit”. It stated that agreements with school districts, colleges and private business have exceeded or equaled regular passenger fares. It confirmed that RGTA receives $10 million a year from the Rochester School District. The articles implication was that transportation systems around the country should take note of Rochester’s creative practices instead of raising fares. Oddly, the court case was not mentioned at all in the article. Clearly, this is a threat to the school bus industry. MSBOA members need to write in support of this rulemaking. You need to make time to protect the statutory provision that Congress has granted. Make your voice heard.


News and Views

7

A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

What is allowed? “Please allow Alec Graham to ride home on the bus with Jeremy Johnson today.” “I’m calling because I want to have Annie get off at a different stop today so that she can go to her horse lessons.” “I need to have Emily Smith ride bus 7 to our house so that she can babysit for me today after school.” “I’d like to have my son ride the bus that stops at 4th and Union this afternoon so that he can walk down to my office from there.” “I want to have my children dropped off at ABC Daycare on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at home on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.” Do you allow students to have alternate drop-off locations? Do your school bus drivers accept notes written by parents from students as they board the bus in the afternoon? Does your office staff take messages from parents who call with requests for their children to ride a different bus or get off at a different stop? What is the policy in your school district regarding the practice of students riding a bus to anywhere other than their assigned stop? Policies vary, and many have changed in recent years. School bus operations of the past (and maybe some still in existence) allowed for students to ride any bus that would take them to their desired destination. A note from a parent might have been required, or perhaps a child was trusted to tell the

By John Benjamin, Benjamin Bus, Northfield, MN

driver about the alternate plans for that day. In recent years we are seeing more restrictions on this type of activity. Many school districts limit students to one designated bus stop and one bus assignment, and some even require that students carry a bus pass in order to ride the bus. Why the change? What are some of the issues when it comes to flexibility and permissiveness in student transportation? To begin, it may help to go back to the basics of student transportation. Our purpose is to transport students between home and school. Home is the legal residence of the child, but also may be defined as a daycare facility. So, home or daycare. We are not required to transport students to their various after school activities such as music lessons, Scouts, dance class, 4H, church activities or play dates on afternoon route buses. We are not required to transport students to a parent’s workplace, or the student’s workplace. In our district, parents can choose only one pick up location and one drop off location for their children. It is not an option to have students ride the bus to a stop near their home on certain days and to a stop near their daycare on other days. It is not an option for a students to ride to an alternate location on Thursdays for a piano lesson. Many families have challenging schedules, filled with the demands of parental work schedules and the wideranging activities of children. It could certainly make life easier for some parents if their children could use school

bus transportation to go to alternative destinations after school. Should we allow this? What are some of the issues for school districts and school bus operators? Bus capacity: Tight budgets result in the need to maximize efficiency, which means buses running as close to capacity as routes and schedules allow. Is there room on every bus for extra students riding to alternate destinations. Probably not.

Continued on page 11.

WE WILL P AY TOP DOLL AR FOR BUS OPERATIONS!

Call: 1•800•765•8151 CASH OR TERMS FROM A MINNESOTA COMPANY


8

MSBOA Loses Past Member, Worth Stiles Shari Danzeisen (August 27, 1927 - October 22, 2008) Worth Stiles, beloved Father, Grandfather, and Founder of Safe-Way Bus Company in Inver Grove Heights, died Oct. 22, surrounded by his family. Preceded in death by wife Mary, stillborn son David and sister Beverly VanDyke. Survived by 3 children Dan Stiles, Jane Stiles-Wahoske & Tom (Lori) Stiles 5 grandchildren; Karl, Adam & Laura Wahoske and Lucy & Mimi Stiles, brother Kenneth (Sandy) Stiles, brother & sister inlaws, nieces, nephews, friends & business associates. Stiles started Safe-Way Bus Company in 1970. He purchased 8 buses and a small terminal in Medota Heights. The next year, the fleet grew to 150 and was moved to South Saint Paul. By 1990, the company had also contracted with Inver Grove Heights School District bringing the number of buses to over 100. Safe-Way also provided transportation for many of the colleges in the Twin Cities. Worth Stiles also started another business in 1986, American Limousine. American Limousine was a corporate transportation company using limousines, and mini-coaches. In 1992, Safe-Way opened a terminal in Hudson, WI, operating school buses. Worth Stiles was always an active member of MSBOA and served on the MN School Bus Safety Advisory Committee in it’s inception. Please keep the Stiles family in your thoughts and prayers.

MSBSC Minutes Continued from Page 4. Stake Holders Group-Dave Johnson The next Safety Stakeholders meeting will be on Dec. 9th at 9:00 AM in Mendota Heights Patrol headquarters. Anyone can attend this meeting. Because Dave is representing this committee he needs to hear your ideas, concerns and issues to present to this group. E-,mail Dave with suggestions. MAPT - Ray Kroll Jan 9-10 will be the joint conference in Mankato. Rooms are available at the Holiday Inn for $90 plus tax. The new pre-trip video will be presented at the conference. Ray has a new manual from 'Operation Lifesaver'. This may go onto a web site. Old Business: New Business: Emily White brought up the subject of GPS units in buses. These can't be put in the windows so probably would not be effective and shouldn't be used. Meeting was adjourned at 11:43 AM

A Nationwide Distributor of School Bus Parts and Safety Equipment

CALL TODAY TO ORDER! Toll Free: 800-937-3906


Legal Notes

9 BY THOMAS REVNEW OF SEATON, BECK & PETERS

HOTLINE PHONE: (952) 921-4622

Heads Up! DOL Issues New FMLA Regulations On November 17, 2008, the Department of Labor issued revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations, marking the first update to the Act since its passage in 1993. The new regulations, which will become effective January 16, 2009, grant new leave rights for family members of military personnel and also clarify certain definitions and responsibilities of employers and employees. The following is an overview of some of the more important changes to the regulations. Military Caregiver Leave. The most significant changes to the Regulations grant new leave rights for family members of military personnel. Under the military caregiver provision (which actually went into effect upon enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act in January 2008), eligible employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for service members with a serious illness or injury incurred while in the line of duty. Family members who may be eligible for this leave include the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or "next of kin" of the servicemember. "Next of kin" includes blood relatives with legal custody of the servicemember, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins. Qualified Exigency Leave. This military leave is for families to attend to personal and business affairs of National Guard and/or Reserve members who are on active duty or being called up to active duty. Under this provision, the eligible spouse, son, daughter or parent of a servicemember must be granted up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying "exigencies." These exigencies include short-notice deployment, military events and related activities, childcare and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, counseling, rest and recuperation, post-deployment activities, and other activities that the employers and employees agree upon. This provision does not go into effect until the effective date of the regulations, January 16, 2009. Help In Defining "Serious Health Condition." The new regulations also augment the definition for "continuing treatment" of a "serious health condition." If the employee's medical condition involves three consecutive days of incapacity plus two visits to a health care provider, the new provision provides that the two visits must occur within 30 days of the start of the period of incapacity and the first visit must be within 7 days of the first day of incapacity. If the employee is asserting a serious health condition because of three days of incapacity, treatment by a health care provider at least once, and a regimen of continuing treatment under supervision of a health care provider, the new rules clarify that the treatment must be in person and within 7 days of the first day of incapacity. To meet the definition of a chronic serious health condition, the employee must make at least two visits to a health care provider within one year.

Beefing Up Employee Notice Requirements. Under the new regulations, if FMLA leave requested by the employee is unforeseeable, the employee must comply with the employer's usual and customary notice requirements. (The old rule permitted the employee up to 2 days to give notice to the employer of need for the leave). Relaxing Employer Notice Requirements. Employers are now permitted 5 (rather than 2) business days in which to notify the employee that his/her leave is designated as FMLA leave, and to provide notice to the employee that he/she is eligible for such leave. Changes To Employer Certification Rights & Limitations. Under the new rules, the employer may contact the employee's health care provider directly regarding his/her medical certification for clarification and authentication purposes (but not for additional information). However, employers are limited to using a health care provider, a human resources professional, a leave administrator, or a management official for such contact. The employee's direct supervisor may not, under any circumstances, contact the employee's health care provider. But Can You Perform The Essential Functions? Employers are permitted, under the updated regulations, to require employees to provide "fitness for duty" certifications which include addressing the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the job - if the employer provides the employee with a list of his/her essential job functions at the same time the employer provides the employee with the required "designation Best Values: notice." The employer must also state in the • Legal Hotline for MSBOA Members "designation notice" that the certification must • Employee Handbook & Employment address the employee's Materials Package $875 ability to perform the (Includes 2 hours of attorney time - hourly rates thereafter) essential job functions. Employers may also • Drug & Alcohol Testing Package require "fitness for duty" $425 certifications once every 30 days for employees on Ask for MSBOA Discount of intermittent leave, if there $100 off above packages are safety concerns regarding the employee's Contact Tom Revnew ability to perform his/her duties. 7300 Metro Blvd., Suite 500 • Minneapolis, MN 55439 Cont. on Page 11.

Tel 952.896.1700 • Fax 952.896.1704 www.seatonlaw.com


10

Type III Driver Background Checks The Minnesota BCA and the Department of Public Safety will not be providing background checks on Type III drivers for schools or transportation contractors. If you send names to the state on the same pre-application that you use for a CDL driver in-training, and send it to the state, most likely they are being destroyed and not being completed. To have a background check completed on a Type III driver, you must do one of the following things: 1. 2.

Run your own background checks through the BCA (for a fee). Use an approved company from the Department of Public Safety’s Approved list (Below)

D.A.C. Services 4500 So. 129th Ave. E., Suite 200 Tulsa, OK 74134 1-800-331-9175 FAX - 918-664-9074 www.dacservices.com

James E. Van Ella & Associates 8745 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 110 Chicago, IL 60631 773-693-6220 FAX - 773-693-1034 www.jev.com

Verified Credentials, Inc. 20890 Kenbridge Ct. Lakeville, MN 55044 952-985-7200 FAX - 952-985-7212 www.verifiedcredentials.com

Professional Research Services, Inc. 4901 West 77th St., Suite 135 Minneapolis, MN 55435 952-941-9040 or 800-886-4777 FAX - 952-941-9041 or 800-886-0774 www.prsnet.com

RSI 6365 Taft St., Suite 2000 Hollywood, FL 33024 1-800-881-5993 FAX - 1-800-321-8870 www.rsialert.com

The McDowell Agency Inc. 1714 University Ave. W. St. Paul, MN 55104 651-644-3880 or 651-248-3182 (cell) FAX - 651-644-3877 www.mcdowellagency.com

Premier Background Services 123 N. College Ave., Suite 250 Fort Collins, CO 80524 1-800-350-7941 FAX - 1-800-359-7941 www.premierbackgrounds.com

American Data Bank 820 Sixteenth Street 8th Floor Denver, CO 80202 303-573-1130 FAX 303-573-1779 www.americandatabank.com

One Stop Systems, Inc. P.O. Box 235 Glencoe, MN 55336 320-864-1901 FAX 320-864-4436 es@firststopsystems.com

Brian D. Kading Trak-1 Technology P.O. Box 996 Anoka, MN 55303 888-818-5228 www.trak-1.com

Have you Registered for the Winter Conference Yet??? Registration Forms are included in this issue of The Operator.


11

News and Views...

Continued from Page 7.

Consistency & dependability: The safety and security of the children on our buses is another consideration that leads us to minimize confusion by requiring consistency. When Mrs. Miller calls us about little Elizabeth riding to a different address on certain days, it probably seems like a simple request, but multiply it by hundreds of students in the district riding a school bus to different place for after school activities on any given day, and it’s easy to imagine the potential for confusion and disorder. School bus drivers have a demanding job as it is, we do not need to add extra variables. A driver’s radio transmission gives a hint of the kind of thing that happens with inconsistent take-home transportation: “Arianne forgot to get off at her babysitter’s and now she’s afraid that no one is home because her mom’s car isn’t in the driveway. Can you call the house and see if anyone is there?” Then, when the dispatcher is unable to reach a parent, “Can you call the babysitter and tell her I’ll drop off Arianne after I’m done with the route?”

Member Benefits Available through Holiday Station Stores! Make sure to look for the insert in this letter regarding valuable savings through Holiday Station Stores. As a member of MSBOA, you can receive substantial savings on fuel through Holiday.

Legal Notes Continued from Page 9.

Implementing Ragsdale. The new regulations provide that the employer may retroactively designate leave as FMLA leave if the employer's failure to timely make the designation does not cause harm or injury to the employee. Under the old regulations, an employer who did not timely designate FLMA leave was not permitted to count the leave taken before the designation, thereby allowing the employee to take more than 12 weeks of FMLA leave. This rule was addressed and declared invalid in the Ragsdale decision. Yes, They Can Waive (Some Of) Those Rights. The new regulations also provide that employees may, pursuant to a settlement agreement or release, waive FMLA rights based on past employer conduct without the approval of DOL or a court. However, employees may not waive prospective FMLA rights. These provisions are only a sampling of the changes that employers must now become familiar with. Employers who are covered by the FMLA should plan to make all necessary changes to handbooks and other policy materials, as well as human resource practices, to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

“WE DELIVER MOBILITY”

HOGLUND BUS CO., INC.

IC Corporation School & Commercial Buses Diamond Commercial Buses Glaval Commercial Buses Mid-Bus School & Commercial Buses Webasto Auxiliary Heaters Ricon & Braun Lifts Specialty Safety Products Leasing & Financing

Call us for PARTS, SERVICE & MOBILE SERVICE Metro: 763-295-5119 Sales/Service: 1-800-866-3105 Parts: 1-800-866-3104 ALL MAKES BODY OR CHASSIS


2008 Calendar of Events MSBOA/MAPT Joint Winter Conference January 9-10th, 2009 at Alltel Center in Mankato, MN MSBOA Summer Conference June 14-16th, 2009 at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legal Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Legislative Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

EXPECT MEDTOX PRICE INCREASE By December 1, 2008 expect to see a laboratory and collection service fee increase of 5%. MedTox has worked hard with their vendors to keep costs down this past year, but with the rising costs of jet fuel, transportation surcharges, and other escalating operating costs, a price increase to their clients was unavoidable.

The Operator 2008  

2008 School Bus

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you