Student Transportation Allocation Reporting System (STARS)
The Student Transportation Allocation Reporting System (STARS) is used for the distribution of operations funding for school district transportation and for providing an evaluation of relative efficiency.
STARS funding uses a regression analysis using individual school district characteristics to determine an expected cost of operations. STARS Efficiency ratings are calculated using a different statistical system (Data Envelopment Analysis).
Funding reports and Efficiency Ratings are released at the end of February each year and are found at the links below.
School districts report student ridership counts and other data three times per year: Fall, Winter and Spring. These reports can be found at the “Quarterly Reports” link.
Three annual non-funding related reports are also collected by STARS: School Transportation Fuel, School Bus Mileage, and McKinney-Vento Transportation.
+ STARS Funding Reports
School district transportation operations funding for the 2013-14 school year is calculated according to the phase in process described in RCW 28A.160.192.
Description Detail Report
Prior years 1026A reports
The second step in determining the 2013-14 school year allocation is a comparison with the transportation allocation and expenditures from the 2012-13 school year.
Transition Allocation Worksheet
A Microsoft Excel workbook providing a STARS funding simulator is available for download here. The workbook has several worksheets, the first of which provides general instructions.
Please note: the simulator is intended to be used to get a general estimate of funding impacts, not an exact predictor of allocation levels. The simulator does not take into account the alternate funding systems for non-high, low ridership, transportation coops or ESDs providing special transportation service that will be in effect for the 2014-15 school year. The coefficients for the 2014-15 school year will not be available until February 2015 and a new simulator will be available about that time.
+ STARS Efficiency Ratings
Annually, the efficiency of each school district’s transportation operations are rated using a statistical process (Data Envelopment Analysis) that uses data returned from STARS and other available data that describe the district characteristics. A summary sheet of the ratings is available here. The workbook contains two sheets showing the current year ratings and last year’s ratings. The current year ratings are developed based on data from school district financial and student transportation reports from the 2012–13 school year.
For each school district rated at less than 100%, a weighted set of cohort districts determines a “target district” that reflects the hypothetical efficiency possible for the district being evaluated. The Efficiency Detail Report shows the districts cohort set and the expenditures and number of buses used by the target district. The Efficiency Detail Reports for the 2013–14 school year (based on 2012–13 data) are available using this drop down list.
The Efficiency Detail Reports for the 2012–13 school year are available here.
A description of the Efficiency Detail Report.
A description of the theory behind the Efficiency Rating system can be found in the Development of Student Transportation Funding Methodology Options for Washington State, in Appendix C, starting on page 82. View the report
Efficiency reviews are required to be conducted by the regional transportation coordinators of all districts with efficiency ratings less than 90%. For the ratings released in March 2013, based on 2011-12 school year data, there were 63 districts with ratings requiring reviews. Those reviews are available here:
Efficiency reviews for the current ratings will be available in December 2014.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
While not directly related to the STARS efficiency rating system, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are a valuable resource for evaluating a school district’s transportation operations. A Technical Assistance Paper for Key Performance Indicators is available by district, in the dropdown menu below.
+ Quarterly Reports
The student counts reports are the primary drivers of student transportation funding. Counts are required three times per year. Counts consist of combined AM + PM ridership. The worksheet linked below provides statewide summary data on student counts, with reporting periods provided on separate worksheets that provide district level data.
In addition to student count data, school districts are required to provide information on their school bus routes. The summary report shows the Student Detail Report, the Route Summary Report, the Bus Summary Report and the Route Detail Report. View these reports.
+ STARS Reporting Reference Material
The following material is provided to assist school district in completing the required STARS reporting. The Power Point® presentation used by regional transportation staff in the September ridership workshops is provided. It is important to note that the official reference for reporting consists of the Reporting Instructions and Detailed Guidance. Attempting to submit reports based solely on the material in the presentation is not recommended. Also provided is a link to the current WAC language.
Reference material for district use of the secure online reporting system consists of the STARS system user manual and the GIS Application User Manual. Also provided is a list of the route destinations currently available within the GIS application.
+ Other (Optional) Forms
Provided for optional use are a Fuel and Mileage Workbook (for the annual school bus mileage and transportation fuel reports) and a Student Count Workbook (to assist districts in identifying the best reporting period).
The School Bus Route and Bus Stop Location Form is provided for those districts wanting to provide data without using the STARS GIS interface. Use of this form is optional.
+ One-Road Mile Maps
Choose a school district name from the drop-down menu to download the district map book containing the one-road mile areas for each school. The one-road mile area around each school was calculated using GIS software and the most current GIS data for roads in the State of Washington. These maps will be updated periodically as new road data becomes available.