Over 80 school buses operate each day in Polk County, and those buses are now in top working order following the Missouri State Highway Patrol yearly inspections. The MSHP inspects every bus in the state each year to ensure kids are traveling safely.
According to an MSHP news release, the 11,958 buses inspected across the state were sorted into three different categories of performance. Buses with no defective items are “approved.” Buses found with “one or more defective items which do not constitute an immediate danger” are rated “defective.” Buses with a “defective item which constitute immediate danger” are placed “out of service.”
Defective buses are able to continue transporting students and must be repaired within 10 days of inspections, the release said. Out-of-service buses must be repaired and re-inspected before being allowed to run routes.
If buses are not re-inspected within the 10 day allowance, they are reported to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Districts that receive an approval rating of 90% or higher with no buses rated out of service receive the patrol’s Total Fleet Excellence Award. This year, 261 Missouri school districts received the award, the patrol’s release said.
Inspection results for Polk County include:
● Bolivar R-1: Thirty-six of Bolivar R-1’s buses, through Rains and Martin Transportation Services, were approved. One bus was rated out of service.
“We did fantastic like we always do,” said Russ Martin, Bolivar transportation director. “When (the out of service bus) came in to the garage for the inspection, it had a brake line busted. But we fixed it right there in the garage, it got the official sticker of clearance and the bus legally went out on its route that night.”
“The Missouri Highway Patrol does a very extensive inspection of all buses throughout the state, and we are very pleased with their efforts to make certain the children are transported by vehicles that require such a stringent assessment,” said Bolivar superintendent Tony Berry. “We had a 97.3% pass rate, compared to the state average of 89.2%.”
● Fair Play R-2: Fair Play’s fleet of seven buses received a 100% approval rating, receiving the Total Fleet Excellence Award.
“We are very proud of the 100% passage on our school buses,” Renee Sagaser, Fair Play superintendent, said.
Sagaser said the transportation department works hard to make sure their buses could pass inspection any day, not just the day of inspections.
“Our buses are transporting our most precious cargo, our students.”
● Halfway R-3: Out of Halfway’s seven buses, four were approved, two were defective, and one was placed out of service.
“We are very fortunate to have a great bus supervisor/mechanic,” Halfway superintendent Tim Boatwright said.
“This year, the one bus that was considered out of service had an electrical issue and was put back in service before the inspection crew even left our facility. The other two (defective) buses had a loose shock, and we tightened up one nut and they also passed,” Boatwright said.
●Humansville R-4: Humansville’s fleet of seven buses passed inspection with a 100% approval rating, receiving the Total Fleet Excellence Award.
“A huge thank you and congrats to our bus contractor company, J & L (James and Linda Campbell), for continuing to keep our students safe and buses well maintained,” Humansville Superintendent Tammy Erwin said.
●Marion C. Early R-5: All 14 of Marion C. Early’s buses were approved, receiving the Total Fleet Excellence Award.
“We have an outstanding transportation department that works extremely hard to keep our buses running smoothly,” said Josh Angel, Marion C. Early superintendent. “A special thanks goes out to our bus mechanic Mike Lewis and our Transportation Director Alan Rogers, as well as all of our bus drivers for the dedication to the students of Marion C. Early.”
● Pleasant Hope R-6: Pleasant Hope had 14 buses approved, and two put out of service.
The BH-FP contacted Pleasant Hope superintendent Kelly Lowe, but he had not responded as of press time Tuesday.
For more information about Missouri school bus inspections, visit mshp.dps.missouri.gov.