New transportation supervisor tends to his flock

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By Jennifer Garcia

Good help is hard to find.  Just ask White Rock resident Keith Rosenbaum.

School just started and he’s already tackling his first obstacle as transportation supervisor for Los Alamos Public Schools. The beginning of the school year kicked off with a bus driver shortage.

Parts of Rosenbaum’s duties include hiring bus drivers for the school district, something that’s not always easy.

Potential bus drivers must pass a background check, obtain their CDL certification and be able to work with children. Rosenbaum said that there is a number of substitute drivers the district can call upon, “but we’ll be in a position where we have to use them more than we usually would.”

Though the district is facing this shortage, Rosenbaum is confident that he’ll find enough drivers to cover the vacancies.

He is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. As a pastor at the Nazarene Church in White Rock, he’s seen his share of challenges.

“That’s why I believe that we (he and his family) came here, because of some of the challenges within the community. My hope is that I can make a difference,” Rosenbaum said.

Originally from Tempe, Ariz., Rosenbaum has lived in White Rock for the past three years. Before coming to New Mexico, Rosenbaum and his family, which includes wife Katie, daughters Amy and Cassandra, and son Allen, lived in Fresno, Calif., where Rosenbaum was a pastor at a local church. After eight years of pastoring at the Fresno church, Rosenbaum decided that it was time to leave California.

While looking for a new place in which to move, Rosenbaum found out there was a pastoring opportunity in White Rock, and decided to move his family to New Mexico.

Katie works at the YMCA, while Cassandra teaches at Chamisa Elementary School. Amy and Allen returned to California, where they are attending college.

In December 2006, Rosenbaum became a bus driver for the Los Alamos Public Schools because he says it was a great way to meet people.

“I really enjoyed working with the kids. It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. They sure kept me laughing while I was on the bus,” he said.

Rosenbaum drove buses for a year-and-a-half.

In the spring of 2008, he served as interim transportation supervisor. Once he heard that the position was open full-time, he decided that he was going to apply for the job.

He’s been the districts transportation supervisor since July 1.

In his new position, Rosenbaum is responsible for making sure all vehicles are in proper working condition.

He ensures that all buses get to the places they need to be during the school year, he makes sure everything is up to state regulation, including bus routes, and makes sure that all vehicles meet state requirements.

In addition, Rosenbaum also deals with any disciplinary issues that might come up between students, or students and bus drivers. He makes sure that all those issues are dealt with in a timely, fair and professional manner.

Even  though Rosenbaum has to deal with some serious issues, he likes to keep things lighthearted whenever possible.

“I like to use humor in order to help people along so they can see that some of the difficulties they face dont have to be as bad as they make it sometimes,” he said.

Rosenbaum knows that there will be more obstacles to overcome as the new transportation supervisor, but he’s ready for them.

The biggest change is that we will have to take a look at ways to conserve fuel costs within the school district, he said.

“The state cut some of our funding and I realize that some of it’s coming back to us now through a recent bill that Gov. Richardson proposed, but we are really going to have to look at ways we can conserve fuel,” he said.

Rosenbaum said that the new buses the district purchased come with 100-gallon tanks. He plans to run those buses with 50 gallons of fuel, which, he said, will reduce the weight of the bus by 250 pounds.

“Older buses don’t have such large fuel tanks,” he said. ”We’ll try to keep miles as short as possible. We just need to be sure that our routes are efficient.”

“Geoff Rodgers (his predecessor) did a wonderful job with routes and making sure they are running efficient. We’ve looked at routing software and the routes are as efficient as they can be,” he said. “Geoff cut them down from 27 to 20, so were at bare bones right now,” he continued.

Rodgers resigned his position as transportation supervisor on June 30 and is currently at home caring for his newborn son.

Rosenbaum says he loves the variety he experiences as transportation supervisor.

“There’s always a challenge and a different opportunity to learn something, if nothing else. I’m a pretty quick study. I’m able to learn it and apply it right away,” he said.