Three area school districts had high scores when the Missouri State Highway Patrol released its annual school bus inspect results recently.
Statewide, the MSHP motor vehicle inspection division looked at 12,018 buses and of that 90.6 percent were approved with no defective items.
Locally, West Platte had the best score of the four schools districts in The Citizen’s coverage area with a perfect 100 percent as all nine buses passed inspection.
Park Hill was at 98 percent, while Platte County had a 97.7 passage rate. North Platte came in with 84.6 percent.
“We have a really good manager, Linda McDowell, she does a great job with our fleet,” West Platte superintendent Dr. John Rinehart said. “She is to be commended and maintenance folks at Apple (Buses, out of Cleveland, Mo.) does a good job keeping them on the road and giving the kids something safe to ride in.”
A total of 281 Missouri school districts earned the Patrol’s Top Total Fleet Excellence Award, given to schools with 90 percent or higher and no buses put out of service. West Platte and Platte County will receive stickers to place on the first window on the passenger-entry side of the bus to show the accomplishment.
West Platte showed improvement over last year’s total, when seven of the nine buses passed inspection, but two were deemed defective.
Defective buses may still be operated to transport students until repair(s) are made. The defective items do not constitute an immediate danger. The school district is given 10 days following inspection to repair the defects before the bus is re-inspected.
Buses that are considered to be an immediate danger are rated out-of-service. They must be repaired, re-inspected and placed back in service by MSHP inspection personnel before transporting students. Buses not presented for re-inspection within the 10-day window will be reported to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Platte County showed a big improvement in the overall percentage, as 42 of the 43 buses passes were ‘approved,’ while another was termed defective. In 2017, the R-3 School District had an 86 percent approval rating with six buses defective.
“It was a good thing to see,” Platte County superintendent Dr. Michael Reik said. “We always want to be above 90 percent. We have a department of two in bus mechanics. They’ve got their hands full and they work so hard. It is always good to come up 90 percent and do really well. One of our operational goals is to be over 90 percent. We are happy with the results this year.”
Park Hill had the biggest fleet in the area with 150 buses and 147 of them were approved. Two were found defective and one was placed out of service, which took them out of the running for the fleet excellence award. The 98 percent passage rate was a slight tick up from 2017, when the district had a 97.4 percent, but also had one more bus.
North Platte also saw a decrease in the number of buses this year with 13 up for inspection, one less than in 2017. Of the 13, 11 were approved, while the other two were placed out-of-service.
Last year, the North Platte School District had 14 buses inspected — 10 were approved and four were defective for a 71.4 percentage passage rate.
Statewide, 10,888 buses were ‘approved,’ while 912 were ‘defective’ but were still able to be used. A total of 218 were deemed ‘out-of-service.’