Student transportation One of the hallmarks of the Dublin Difference is our relentless pursuit of efficiency, conservation of taxpayer dollars and environmental sustainability.

Our bus fleet, one of the biggest in Ohio at more than 152 buses on the road each day, presents a great example of an opportunity to continue to search for ways to become more efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly.

For example, several years ago we installed "no idling" signs near the entrances to all of our schools in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This program has been appreciated by students and staff as well, because they do not have to navigate diesel fumes when entering or exiting schools when our buses are nearby.

More recently, Dublin City Schools has been awarded more than $550,000 worth of grants as part of the Environmental Protection Agency's National Clean Diesel Rebate Program.

The grants are being used to purchase buses that operate on compressed natural gas, rather than diesel fuel.

The EPA is leading a "School Bus Replacement and Retrofit Funding Opportunity," in which school districts can receive funding to replace and/or retrofit school buses in order to reduce harmful emissions.

Through competitive grant applications, our district has been selected to participate in this program and will be using the grant money to purchase alternatively fueled buses.

The program is a partnership with the city of Dublin which allows the district to use the city's compressed natural gas fueling station near our bus compound on Shier-Rings Road.

Through that collaboration the school district is poised to become one of the first public school systems in the country to add compressed natural gas buses to its fleet.

The program has allowed Dublin City Schools to improve our community, reduce operational costs and provide healthier environments for our students, and will also allow us to explore full fleet conversion that could provide opportunities to connect students with real world learning experiences as we explore new technologies and data analytics.

The district's coordinator of transportation Amy Salay said, "Student safety is, and will continue to be, our department's No. 1 priority. We understand that the faith of the community rides with our buses and we take that very seriously.

"It is exciting when we have the opportunity to innovate and not only maintain our safety standards, but actually improve the environments for our students, fellow motorists, and the community."

Our bus routes themselves are continually examined for maximum time efficiency at the lowest possible cost to our taxpayers.

Our buses run what is referred to as "triple tier" routes, meaning the same bus transports students who start and end school at different times based on their grade level.

We also have mid-day routes for preschool students, morning and afternoon kindergarten, as well as many after school routes every day, transporting students to and from a wide variety of activities.

Planning and executing these bus routes requires dedication and precision. Salay is one of the best in the business and her department should be commended for the efficiency of our routes. This spring, we will be designing many new bus routes because we will be opening two new elementary schools and a centralized preschool in August.

Dublin City School District Superintendent Todd Hoadley, Ph. D., submitted the From the Superintendent's Desk column.