As school systems nationwide continue to face cuts in state educational funding, district officials are looking to technology as a way to increase operational efficiencies. One of these officials is Steve Zickefoose, Assistant Superintendent for the Lincoln County, North Carolina school district. Steve and the Lincoln County schools have been using Synovia Solutions for the past two years. We spoke with Steve, who shared how Synovia has helped his district improve operations and reduce costs.
As Assistant Superintendent, what keeps you up at night?
Just one thing. A continual decrease in state funding.
Is that what led you to seek outside help?
Primarily. For one, we were looking for a better way to capture employee time for payroll purposes. Drivers were clocking in when they arrived at our transportation building, not when they boarded their buses. This was costing us. We wanted to examine our bus routes and scheduling procedures to see if there were ways we could make either more efficient. We were also concerned about student safety, and needed a way to determine the location of our buses at all times.
What were your reasons for choosing to work with Synovia?
We had been looking for a partner for the better part of two years, and considered a wide range of options. But no one else seemed to offer what Synovia offered us. There were a lot of monthly data costs with other vendors, and many didn’t have a product that was able to communicate with our current software. With Synovia, neither was an issue.
And Synovia was the only group we spoke with that didn’t require full payment up front. With Synsurance(SM), we were able to lease our equipment rather than having to buy it outright. Having a pay-as-you-go structure was huge for us. Not having to present capital up front is what allowed us to afford a solution like Synovia at all. Plus, we knew Synovia had helped several other districts. We knew they were industry pioneers with a proven track record.
What was it like to get started?
Synovia was in constant contact with us throughout the entire implementation phase. They exceeded our expectations by leaps and bounds by meeting all of our immediate needs. What’s more, Synovia met with us in-person and demonstrated their software using live data from our own fleet. And once it’s setup, there is no need for additional support. The system is so simple to operate.
How would describe your overall experience?
Our experience has been excellent. We use Synovia to track just about all of our vehicles. There hasn’t been much need to interact with the Synovia team as far as troubleshooting is concerned, but they touch base with us every couple of weeks to see how things are going. We’ve served as a reference for Synovia to other districts on several occasions. When they ask why we recommend Synovia, we tell them it’s because their product is functional, reliable and it just works. Period.