Summer work program offers employment to 10-month staff while taking care of important facilities needs

Posted 11/04/16

Summer Program Numbers

Number of applicants:
Drivers - 131
Monitors - 60
Total applicants: 191

Positions filled:
Facilities - 65
Technology Services - 10
Total filled positions: 75

Number of working days:
FY 2015-16 - 23
FY 2016-17 - 17
Total working days: 40

Summer 2016 Projects

Flooring Projects / Tile Setters:

  • Drachman
  • White
  • Ford
  • Mission View
  • Howell
  • Grijalva
  • Bonillas

Roofing Projects: Re-coated roof as well as cleaned out gutters and down spouts

  • Myers-Ganoung
  • Steele
  • Hughes
  • Manzo
  • Holladay
  • Hudlow

Carpenter Project @ Tully:
Tully: Removed all white boards and tack boards, installed new Promethean Board

The summer months offer an opportunity to accomplish needed work on our technology systems and school facilities. At the same time, every year, Tucson Unified School District Transportation expects to lose at least fifteen bus drivers over the summer months, as drivers find jobs that allow them to work twelve months.

With the combined goals of completing more summer projects and retaining Transportation staff, our Operations and Technology Services departments developed the Summer Work Program.

"This is a collaborated partnership between Transportation and Facilities that benefits both operations departments and the school district," says Ray Cashen, Director of Facilities Management. "The Facilities Department is able to complete additional maintenance projects over the summer that we would not be able to with our limited staff, by temporarily hiring transportation workers. This influx of additional labor, allows us to increase productivity and positively improve district facilities, at a time when we have had reduced capital funding and budget cuts."

Coating playground equipment

A Summer Program worker coats playground equipment

Over the summer of 2016, playground equipment received needed coats of sealant, and roofing projects were completed at many sites, including Van Buskirk and Myers-Ganoung elementary schools. When the summer monsoons came, work orders for roofing repairs were down, thanks to the roofing team's efforts.

The roofing project's supervisor emphasizes that the summer workers were keys to the projects success. Eddie Aguilar, Roofing Supervisor, says, "I would like to thank the Transportation staff for their contribution to our project. The staff members should be commended for being quick learners, self-starters, hard workers and jumping right in to complete the prep work, so our roofers could finish the repairs."

Ronald Stier, a bus driver who worked on the roofing projects, said, "It was nice to work over the summer with the Summer Program. It was nice to have the opportunity for extra income. I worked on the roofing project. Eddie and the crew were very helpful, and I would be willing to work again next summer."

School floors also benefitted from the project. Edwardo Aguilar, Carpentry Supervisor, noted a few team members whose contributions were especially valuable. "For the tile setters, Miguel Olivares and Loren Trask stood out. Miguel was a fast learner, and Loren also knew how to install V.C.T."

The floor at Bonillas - Before

Before shot of the floor

The floor at Bonillas - After

After shot of the floor

Francisco Du'Prey, Director of Transportation, says, "The Department of Transportation's successful collaboration with Facilities to offer summer employment to TUSD drivers and monitors is evidenced by the benefits it provides to our drivers, Facilities and the students and school staff, who return from summer break to school grounds and classrooms that have been cleaned and repaired. Drivers are just not given the opportunity to stay employed during the summer break, they are also given new skills and experiences that will make them even more of a valued asset to TUSD. The District benefits by expanding the pool of job ready employees that can potentially apply and perform in other areas when new opportunities are presented. Providing drivers this opportunity enhances driver retention and provides a stable driver force more familiar with school staff, students, and routes, resulting in professional and quality service."

Roof project

Roofing project at Myers-Ganoung

In addition to making needed repairs to our facilities and technology systems, the project resulted in lower driver and monitor turnover, which means reduced training and recruitment costs. Transportation staff appreciates the opportunity to have summer work and feel supported by TUSD.

Mary Tatum, a bus driver, says, "My experience working with the Summer Program at the Warehouse this past summer was a great one. I loved the staff, such a wonderful group of people. Glad to have had the opportunity to work with them."

With the success shown by the Summer Work Program during the 2015-2016 summer, Transportation and Facilities hope to continue and expand the program in the coming years so that more bus drivers decide to stay with the district and more work gets done.