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.


57 Chattanooga State Global Scholars Reach Celebration Point

The Global Scholars Program, Chattanooga State’s academic honors program, provides students with the opportunity to gain a global perspective and awareness through a deeper and more complex, connected, and contextualized college experience. Global scholars are a part of a learning community comprised of students from all academic majors and programs. Students take classes together, ... (click for more)

GPS Holds Commencement 2017

The GPS Class of 2017 was lauded but also challenged at the Commencement ceremony held on Friday. Most of all, they were celebrated – by their families, their friends, and the faculty.  Head of School Dr. Autumn Graves acknowledged the students’ accomplishments and quoted from the girls’ chapel talks to illustrate the wisdom, thoughtfulness, thankfulness, and realizations ... (click for more)

Erlanger Expects $5 Million Profit Despite "Very Challenging" Budget

Erlanger Health System officials said they expect a $5 million profit for the upcoming fiscal year despite a "very challenging" budget. Britt Tabor, chief financial officer, said there will be continued top line growth, which has brought a 51 percent rise in patient revenue over the past five years. "This is organic growth. It's not from mergers or acquisitions," Mr. Tabor ... (click for more)

Public Defender Says Another Entity Needs To Continue Funding For New Mental Health Court

Public Defender Steve Smith said another entity needs to take over funding the new Mental Health Court. He said Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has agreed to oversee the court and will make a budget presentation to the County Commission on May 31. Mr. Smith told members of the Pachyderm Club on Monday that he has been funding the program through the services of Anna Protano ... (click for more)

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Public Defender And The Mental Health Court

I am holding in my hand a list of the names of 50 very real people who cost the taxpayers of Hamilton County a combined $3,037.090 in incarceration charges before July 2015. These people live in our county and I dare say it is not completely their fault that they were put in the county jail. Each has a professionally-diagnosed mental illness and today, most regretfully, the County ... (click for more)