The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District recently received outstanding results on the district’s annual school bus inspection, conducted March March 20 and 21 by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Of the 150 school buses inspected, the inspectors did not identify a single advisory defect within the entire fleet. Although the school district has a history of outstanding state safety inspections, officials believe this is the first 100-percent passage report in at least 30 years. Among Missouri districts with a bus fleet of more than 100, there were no reports of a district achieving the 100-percent score during 2016.
Keith Henry, R-7 director of transportation, said the R-7 Transportation Department staff is to be commended for this remarkable 100-percent inspection.
The annual inspection included items such as light bulbs, tires, seat frames, exhaust systems, brakes, windshield wipers and many other school bus components. For a large bus fleet such as Lee’s Summit R-7’s, this means that more than 6,000 light bulbs were working with no cracks or discoloration; all 900 plus tires were properly inflated with proper tread, no bulges, no cracks or blemishes; and more than 3,000 seats were considered safe with no tears, cracks, mounting issues or padding failures — just to name a few examples of the more than 180 items each bus was inspected for during this two-day inspection.
The R-7 Transportation Department has a long-running tradition of successful state school bus inspections and passage rates. The department has averaged a 95-percent approval rating the past 30 years, well above the state average of 82 to 87 percent. The department has received the state’s Exemplary School Bus Maintenance Award for 11 consecutive years during summer conferences hosted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The March 2017 outstanding inspection qualified the R-7 School District to receive the School Bus Exemplary Fleet Maintenance Award from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the School Bus Fleet Excellence Award from the Highway Patrol at the annual state conference in July.
Transportation Department’s maintenance staff includes Eric Slover, fleet maintenance supervisor; Rusty Rhoads and Joe Hand, lead mechanics; Larry Rachaner, Chris Barnes, Charles Parrot and Mike Walker, mechanics; and Payton Hargrave, Mark Edwards and Jimmy York, mechanic helpers.
The R-7 School District transports approximately 12,500 students each school day, traveling more than 2 million miles annually within the 117-square-mile school district.