25 percent of Eldon buses had issues, but have since been corrected
Almost three months and 11,890 school buses later, 88.3% of buses in the state of Missouri were approved to transport students during the Highway Patrol's initial inspection.
The annual inspection looks for any issues ranging from brake performance, lighting and signaling equipment, windshield wipers, tires, fuel system, seats, emergency exits, color and aisle mats.
Buses are declared approved, defective or out of service. Defective buses have one or more minor defective item but qualify as safe for student transportation. Out of services buses are those that have one or more major defective item and are deemed by officials to be unsafe for student transportation. Approved buses are completely free of any defective items.
Camdenton R-III, Macks Creek R-V, Morgan County R-II and School of the Osage received a 100 percent approval rate for all of their buses. Camdenton has the second highest amount of buses in Troop F's territory with 75 buses. Macks Creek owns nine buses while Morgan County R-II has 30 and School of the Osage has 33.
2013 marks the 15th consecutive year that the Camdenton R-III district has received a 90 percent or higher rating on this inspection. For nine of those 15 years, the district received a 100 percent approval rating on the first round of the inspection.
A few other lake area districts did not fare as well in inspections. The Eldon R-I district has a total of 30 buses that were inspected. Of those 30, inspectors approved 23. Four buses were deemed defective while the other three are now out of service.
Eldon R-I's Transportation Director Clare Herriman said that the defective items included tires and a left turn signal. Superintendent Matt Davis said the district corrected the issues noted in the inspections and will transport students at the beginning of the school year.
"We always learn something from the school bus inspections," Davis said. "It is a great process that helps the district improve safety for our kids."
Out of the 12 buses Climax Springs R-IV owns, eight buses were approved. Three were deemed defective and one out of service. Attempts to reach the Transportation Director at Climax Springs were unsuccessful by press deadline.
School districts undergo inspections by the Highway Patrol twice every year. In the fall, a surprise inspection is conducted while the spring inspection is scheduled ahead of time. For districts like Camdenton R-III that have mechanics on hand, they continually inspect their fleet throughout the year.
"We believe it is our mission to provide a safe environment for students at all times whether it is a classroom or a school bus," Dr. Jim Rich with Camdenton said.
For Camdenton's Transportation Director Gary Cuendet, is is all about making "sure our kids have the best transportation to and from school."
Cuendet added that ensuring safety for the students takes everyone in the district including administration, transportation and the taxpayers.