My parents moved to Austin when I was 6 months old and I have lived here all my life (47 yrs).
I have been a professionally certified school bus driver for various orgs for over 19 yrs. I drove for UT, Texas MHMR, AISD. Most of the time I was a Special Ed. Wheelchair Bus Driver.
I have logged over 500,000 miles in busses of all sizes and types and never had an accident or injured a single person or child. 95% of that mileage was in-town city miles in Austin traffic.
I am a former member of the AISD Transportation Dept.-Director’s Advisory Committee on Policy, and was elected to that position by my peers, the other bus drivers/mechanics. I helped make policy at the Transportation Dept. of AISD.
Also, I was a member of the AISD Classified Conciliation Council and obtained that position by a petition signed by over 200 classified employees that worked at AISD. As a member of the CCC I was authorized by state law to represent some 1,565 non-union classified employees with their concerns and grievances to the AISD School Board.
I am the Rick Hall who forced the AISD to air condition its fleet of Special Ed. busses at an estimated projected ten year cost of somewhere in the range of $6,000,000 dollars. No bull. When the truth hit the fan, the Director of the Dept. was told to resign or be terminated, he fixed the bus fleet with working AC...then resigned. As a Special Ed Wheelchair bus driver. I was forced to "cook" small disabled children and young adults at AISD in the extremes of summer heat(1983-106, 107 record breaking heat waves, as well as your common 101-102 degree summer heat) in UN-air condition busses. Having worked for the Travis State School as a bus driver, and since I was trained by the State of Texas to transport the disabled, I knew that this was an actionable offense. I took steps to end the children’s suffering by advising the parents of those children. I took my case to the CCC, Letters to the Editor of the Austin American Statesman, and televised AISD School Board Meetings to put a stop to that despicable, cruel, practice.
Currently I am the Host (SysOp) of the Light Rail Forum at Austin CitySearch on the Internet: I am a reporter. My editor has directed me to consider the Forum as a column. Access to the information that I post there is available... world wide. :-)
©Rick Hall, 6-04-98