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.

Merit Badge College Held At Chattanooga State

Now in its 17th year, Chattanooga State Community College sponsored the annual Merit Badge College for 155 Boy Scouts and 40 Boy Scout leaders from the Cherokee Area Council on March 17. This day-long event provided an opportunity for scouts to earn one of 15 badges focused on STEM-related activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scouts had a choice ... (click for more)

Woolfitt Awarded Plattner Award For Poetry

Dr. William Woolfitt, assistant professor of creative writing at Lee University, has won the Appalachian Heritage Denny C. Plattner Award in Poetry for his poem “Glassworks Hot Room as Pentecostal Church.”  Kenneth and Elissa May Plattner established the Denny C. Plattner Awards in 1995 to honor their late son, Denny, and his love for writing. The awards are presented to ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Debating Future Of Mountain Center; Vice Mayor Gee Goes Off Council After Marrying And Moving Out Of Town Limits

A discussion regarding the Mountain Arts Community Center lease and memorandum of agreement with a non- profit organization that has been formed with a proposed to manage it took place at the Signal Mountain town council meeting Friday afternoon. City Manager Boyd Veal had created a document for the purpose of starting a discussion and to identify how the council would like to move ... (click for more)

Students OK After Bag Containing Meth Found At Nolan Elementary

Officials say students at Nolan Elementary School on Signal Mountain are okay after discovering a bag that contained meth. The incident happened on Friday afternoon during a reading fair.  Principal Dr. Shane Harwood sent this message to parents: "Good Afternoon Nolan Families - We wanted to share some information related to an event that has taken ... (click for more)

Tax All County Property Owners Once For School Safety

Our School Board, Sheriff Hammond, school administrators and the community are thoughtfully considering how to maintain safety in classrooms. Currently, discussions indicate more funding will be needed to ensure school safety. If schools are not safe and more money will change that, by all means let’s move to fix the problem.   There are many caring and knowledgeable ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I don’t make much of a secret that I hated every single second of the short time I spent in college or that I never took a journalism class. Instead what I know about writing was taught by a far greater collection of experts than you can find on any college campus. Andy Rooney, for example, was a genius with a dry humor who lectured to me almost every Sunday night for about 30 years. ... (click for more)