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School Board Approves Proposed Contract with Zum for Student Transportation

The Roanoke City School Board voted unanimously on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, to approve a proposed contract with Zum for student transportation, pending final contract negotiations by the City Attorney’s office. The contract will begin with the 2024-2025 school year.

Zum, which is based in San Francisco, California, is a technology-enabled transportation company that serves more than 4,000 schools and divisions across the nation. The company keeps students at the center of its mission to provide safe, efficient, and reliable transportation and provides one seamless, real-time interface for parents/guardians, drivers, schools, school districts, and administrators to transport students safely and with increased visibility and personalized care.

RCPS will provide additional information once negotiations are complete, and the contract is signed. The video below includes more about Zum:

Before the School Board’s vote, Superintendent Dr. Verletta White thanked the public for their input. The Superintendent’s Transportation Workgroup helped to inform what was included in the request for proposals (RFP). A second cross-functional team of parents, teachers, school administrators, transportation personnel, and Central Office staff made up the RFP committee that reviewed and used a scoring rubric to analyze all the proposals submitted against the needs of students, families, and the school division.

“This process and the scoring from the rubric clearly indicated a recommendation for Zum to be awarded the contract for transportation services in Roanoke City Public Schools,” Dr. White said.

Factors that were considered included:

  • on-time delivery of students to school and home;
  • real-time, transparent communication with parents;
  • recruitment and retention efforts for both drivers and bus aides;
  • fleet needs, including maintenance and age of the buses and vans;
  • and many other factors.

Dr. White noted that the selection of a new transportation vendor is just one aspect of RCPS’ comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to addressing transportation. A survey regarding potential adjustments to transportation is currently open through February 28th, and Dr. White encouraged members of the RCPS community to share their input. Already, more than 2,000 people have taken the survey.

School Board members thanked staff and the community for their work and feedback. School Board member Mike Cherry thanked the community for speaking up and encouraged the community to continue to share their input. Vice Chair Joyce Watkins said RCPS’ processes to vet proposals prioritized students, families, and staff, and that decisions are made with the best interest of these stakeholders in mind.