Local News

Wake School Buses Fare Better in 2nd State Inspection

Posted May 30, 2007 4:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 30, 2007 6:36 p.m. EDT

— A safety re-inspection of the Wake County school system's buses shows some improvement since the fleet landed one of the worst scores in the state.

State inspectors recently spot-checked about 21 buses over the course of three days and gave them a score of 73.10, compared with a 94.02 score in November, a showing that landed the school system far below its previous showings.

In the state Department of Public Instruction rating system, points are assigned for problems. A perfect score would be zero.

"We’ve shifted staff to make inspections a priority,” said Don Haydon, chief for facilities and operations for the school system. “This score reflects significant improvement and has us headed in the right direction."

Inspectors found several problems during the May 23 inspection. They ranged from low tire tread to inoperative warning lights and damage to the padding of a seat belt.

Wake County had been a leader in bus safety, but this year fared worse than Durham, Orange, Chatham, Johnston and Franklin counties. The explanation officials gave is familiar to those concerned with the schools: growth.

Last year, officials said, 7,000 new students put a strain on the bus fleet.

The school system operates nearly 840 buses that travel more than 14 million miles a year, transporting more than 65,000 students to and from school.