Bus bus bus

The USD 377 buses parked in the lot at Effingham.

The wheels on the buses in the USD 377 vehicle fleet might be at rest for the summer, but school leaders expect they’ll be ready to roll in time for the start of school in August.

Transportation Director Dwight Myer presented the bus and vehicle report to board members during the school board meeting on June 13. The buses and other vehicles in the district’s fleet collectively logged in a total of 271,872 miles throughout the 2018-19 school year. Myers said the total mileage for the previous year exceeded the 300,000-mile mark.

Activities Director Cy Wallisch, who also serves as Atchison County Community High School assistant principal, was quick to attribute the decrease in miles traveled was due to the district’s change in athletics/activities from the Big Seven League to the North East Kansas League with school memberships within a closer proximity of 377.

This summer marked the hire of a person to clean out and wax the buses while the mechanic tends to the mechanical work and routine maintenance.

“I’m certain everything will pass inspection,” Myer said.

Dr. Andrew Gaddis, superintendent of schools, told board members he and Myer are working to develop a rotation plan for bus and vehicle purchases.

A 2004 International 59-passenger bus is the oldest in the fleet. The bus, referred to as No. 40, has racked up more than 200,000 miles since it was put into service on March 15, 2004. It’s used as a spare, and is scheduled for replacement in 2020.

A 2012 nine-passenger Chevrolet Suburban and a six-passenger 2009 Chevrolet Impala car are also tagged for replacement. A 2008 International 54-passenger bus is equipped with a wheelchair lift and in use as a spare, but is slated for replacement. Fifteen full-sized buses, 3 cars, a transit vehicle, a few vans and an Ford F-250 pickup also comprise the fleet, according to report as presented.

Board members unanimously adopted numerous handbooks for the upcoming school year. Among them was the transportation handbook. USD 377 bus drivers are required to be 21 years of age and have one full year of driving experience to be eligible to apply for a bus driver position.

Bus drivers are required to complete a First Aid and CPR course, vehicle accident prevention classes and a refresher course every three years.

Bus drivers need to attend 10 monthly safety meetings a year and keep informed on safety updates as they arise. Bus drivers are also required to inspect the buses at the end of each route to ensure all passengers have exited the bus.

Mary Meyers can be reached

at mary.meyers@atchisonglobenow.com.

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