Legislation Allows Districts To Keep Inspected School Buses Longer

Thursday, April 03, 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.


University Hosts Award-Winning Author Janisse Ray

Award-winning author, naturalist, and activist Janisse Ray will give a talk on the UTC campus about heirloom seeds, agrodiversity and the future of food. The event is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Raccoon Mountain Room of the UTC University Center. This program is presented by the Tennessee Valley chapter of Wild Ones and UTC Department of Biological and Environmental ... (click for more)

Dalton State Program Gives Non Students Chance To Further Their Education

Lynda Shenefield had an idea for a book.  But she needed help. Shenefield had no idea how to get her book published.  Then she saw a news release about an epublishing course offered at Dalton State, and thought that would be the perfect opportunity to learn what she needed to know.  At 63, Ms. Shenefield didn’t want to go through the process of enrolling as a student ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Requests For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (4)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)