Legislation Allows Districts To Keep Inspected School Buses Longer

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The State Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) to extend the use of school buses, as long as they meet additional inspection requirements.  Senate Bill 1966 authorizes the use of conventional and Class D school buses until they have reached their 18th year of service.  The Commissioner of Safety, through the inspection process, may approve the use of buses for additional years of service beyond the 18th year, if the bus has less than 200,000 recorded miles.  

“This will allow our local school districts to get a little more life out of our school buses,” said Senator Bell.  “It gives local communities more flexibility to extend the use of a school bus which is deemed mechanically safe for transporting children.  We have put into place additional inspections to ensure that they are in good operating order before the life of that bus can be extended.”

Currently, school buses in Tennessee are allowed to operate up to 15 years with a 200,000 mile limit, whichever comes first, if they pass additional inspections.  

“The surrounding states are like vultures over our school districts waiting on a bus to end its time, either through mileage or age in the state of Tennessee,” said Senator Bell.  “They are snatching those buses up and using them sometimes five and 10 years longer.  When you look at statistics, there is no difference of the safety of the children in those states than the state of Tennessee.” 

The legislation requires school buses which are 16 to 18 years old to be inspected twice annually.  It also allows a bus that reaches the 200,000 mile mark during the academic year to be kept in service until the end of the academic year.  The legislation is expected save local school districts approximately $56 million. 

All buses that have been in service for 15 years or less shall be inspected once annually under the proposal. The bill funds four additional Department of Safety positions this year and two next year to inspect the buses to ensure student safety.  

Studies show that school buses are the safest mode of travel, in terms of miles driven and the number of injuries or deaths.


Annual Health, Wellness And Career Fair At Chattanooga State Is March 4

The Chattanooga State Community Health Institute partners with Continuing Education and Career Services to bring the Ninth Annual Health, Wellness And Career Fair to the community on Friday, March 4 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Health Science Center on the Main Campus. The fair is free and open to the public with free parking. Non-driving community members may check the CARTA Route ... (click for more)

2015 Chattanooga State Excellence Awards Announced

Chattanooga State President Dr. Flora Tydings announced the 2015 Excellence Awards winners. Professional Staff Association member Vicki Headrick and Support Staff Association member Debbie Poteet each received a $500 award for their steadfast commitment to excellence. Ms. Headrick is the current director of Chattanooga State’s Child Development Center. “Vicki is one of ... (click for more)

Alexander Says Chickamauga Lock Construction Will Continue For 2nd Consecutive Year

Senator Lamar Alexander says the latest Army Corps of Engineers Work Plan includes great news for East Tennessee – and everyone who benefits from river traffic passing through the Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga. In addition to funding slated for the first three priority projects of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, the Corps of Engineers’ plan includes $29.9 million to continue ... (click for more)

Couple Arrested After 373 Grams Of Ice Meth And Loaded Gun Found At Their Hickory Valley Road Apartment

Federal authorities have arrested a Chattanooga couple after finding them with 373.4 grams of Ice meth at an apartment in East Brainerd. Charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance are Sergio Lizaola and Amy Lee Ramos-Collazo. Lizaola is also charged on a firearm count. Agents said two small children were present along with the couple during a search of ... (click for more)

Rick Smith Should Not Be Paid To Leave

Taxpayers of Hamilton County should take note that a majority of the members of the school board are getting ready to give Rick Smith the buyout that he wants.  Do you agree that someone should be paid for taking the coward's way out?  Rick Smith should be fired for cause. Not paid to leave.   If you don't want the board members to pay him off, call or ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)