The Mike McClung Transportation Station is officially open for business. District staff, retirees, and community members gathered Wednesday morning to dedicate the new facility and to honor its namesake, a school transportation visionary and a former NISD Transportation Director.
The McClung Station is one of five transportation stations located strategically throughout Northside ISD’s sprawling 355 square miles. The station, located at 14173 Old FM 471, will serve the Districts far northwest side elementary, middle, and high schools.
McClung joined Northside in 1972 as a teacher at Valley Hi Elementary School. He also taught at Rayburn Middle School before being named Assistant Director of Transportation in 1977.
As assistant director, McClung worked with then-Director of Transportation Richard Rhodes to convert the District’s diesel-powered buses to propane, a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly fuel. Northside ISD was one of the first school districts in the nation to champion propane fuel.
McClung continued the District’s commitment to propane when he succeeded Rhodes as Director of Transportation in 1985. McClung was considered an expert in alternative fuels and was frequently asked to speak at national conferences and to state officials about the viability and benefits of propane.
“His commitment to propane put Northside on the map as far as school transportation is concerned,” Superintendent Brian Woods said.
During his tenure at NISD, McClung was a leader with the Texas Association of Pupil Transportation and was instrumental in the development of the school bus crossing arm bill that was passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Mark White in 1986.
After he retired from NISD in 2000, McClung continued to speak to school boards and superintendents across the nation about the benefits of propane buses. His vision was realized in 2008, when Northside ISD became the first district in the nation to purchase a new fleet of buses fueled exclusively by propane.
“Mr. McClung, your legacy is still felt in Northside today as we continue your commitment to propane and student safety,” Board President Karen Freeman said at Wednesday’s dedication ceremony.
Today, Northside ISD operates one of the largest bus fleets in Texas, with a total of 821 buses. About 45 percent of the District’s fleet is fueled by propane.
McClung, who suffers from several neurological conditions, attended the standing-room-only dedication ceremony with his wife, Barbara, their children and grandchildren.
“We are overwhelmed and so incredibly touched by this honor,” Barbara McClung said. “Mike’s heart was in Northside and he loved being in Transportation.”
NISD provides bus transportation to students who live two or more miles from school. The District transports about 60,000 students to and from school each day and travel more than 8.3 million miles.
The McClung station is funded by School Bond 2010.