Buses in the Houston Schools fleet sit idle last week during summer break.

Nearly nine out of every 10 school buses in Texas County received approval during the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s annual statewide inspections.

From the county’s seven districts, 75 of the 87 received approval. Seven were deemed defective –– six of those in Summersville –– and five were placed out of service.

Three county districts received perfect scores. Houston R-I and Cabool R-IV had all 18 buses approved, and all 14 of the buses at Plato R-V were approved. Licking R-III fell one bus short of a perfect score as 18 were approved and one was placed out of service.

Houston, Cabool and Plato were three of 292 Missouri school districts that earned the distinction of Total Fleet Excellence, which is awarded to districts earning an approval rating of 90 percent or higher with no buses placed out-of-service. During the 2013-2014 school year, buses in award-winning fleets may display the Total Fleet Excellence sticker in the lower corner of the first window on the passenger-entry side of the bus. In addition, each district earning the designation receives a certificate from the patrol.

“It is remarkable that this has been accomplished once, much less the multiple times it has happened in the last two decades,” Houston Superintendent Scott Dill said.

“We are blessed to have Joe Montgomery on staff to ensure our transportation fleet is as safe as we can make it for the students of our community. His hard work and dedication to excellence are a testament to the work ethic that makes our school district a fantastic place to learn.”

Success R-VI had two buses approved and one placed out of service. Raymondville R-VII had two approved, one deemed defective and one placed out of service. At Summersville, three were approved, six labeled defective and two placed out of service.

Inspections were conducted Feb. 4 through April 30.

Buses found to be free of defective items are rated as “approved,” while vehicles with one or more minor defective items –– but deemed to be safe for the transport of students –– are rated as “defective.” Units with one or more major defective items deemed to be unsafe for the transport of students are rated as “out-of-service.”

Buses rated as “defective” may continue to be operated for the purpose of pupil transportation until repair is made. School districts are allowed 10 days following initial inspection to repair identified defects before being re-inspected by patrol’s motor vehicle inspection personnel. Buses placed out-of-service by inspectors must be repaired, then re-inspected and placed back into service by patrol inspection personnel before being used for transportion.

Inspectors approved 88.3 percent of all buses during their initial inspection. Statewide results from initial inspections:

––10,493 buses approved.

––1,153 deemed defective.

––244 placed out of service.

“I appreciate the positive relationship between the employees of the Motor Vehicle Inspection Division and Missouri’s school districts and contracting companies,” said MSHP Col. Ron Replogle. “The patrol is pleased with the results of the 2013 annual school bus inspection program. Missouri’s schoolchildren deserve the safest transportation possible when traveling to and from school each day, and Missouri’s pupil transportation professionals continue to make student safety a top priority. The annual school bus inspection program continues to ensure that Missouri’s school buses are among the safest in the nation.”

Results of the annual school bus inspection program are a matter of public record. Requests for information regarding the performance of specific school districts during the 2013 annual school bus inspection program may be directed to MVI Analyst Brenda Davis via email at brenda.davis@mshp.dps.mo.gov.

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