The results of the Missouri Highway Patrol's annual school bus inspections are a mixed bag for Mid-Missouri schools.
Highway Patrol personnel inspected 12,018 buses across the state in 2018, Superintendent Colonel Sandra Karsten said in a news release.
The buses transported students for a variety of schools, including traditional public school districts, charter schools, private schools, state schools and others.
More than 90 percent of the buses inspected in the state this year were found without any defects, so 90.6 percent of the bus fleet in the state was rated as "approved" — a slight improvement over last year's 90.24 percent approval rating, with 29 fewer buses inspected this year.
Jefferson City Public Schools' approval rating this year was 94.3 percent — an improvement over last year's 92.2 percent. JCPS contracts its bus service with First Student Inc.
Buses are labeled as "defective" if they have one or more problems that don't pose immediate danger. Schools can continue to use defective buses until necessary repairs are made within 10 days of the initial inspection, before a re-inspection.
Buses with any problems that present immediate danger are rated as "out-of-service."
Here's how some Mid-Missouri school districts fared with their bus inspections:
- Blair Oaks R-2: An approval rating of 77.3 percent, with one out-of-service-rated bus out of 22 presented for inspection; 17 buses were approved, and four were defective. All of Blair Oaks' 21 buses last year were approved, but a 77.3 percent approval rating is familiar ground — it's how the district scored in 2016 with three out-of-service buses out of 21.
- Cole R-1 (Russellville): An approval rating of 55.6 percent, with five buses approved out of nine, but no buses rated as out-of-service; Russellville's ratings have continued to slide from a 66.7 percent approval rating last year, and 72.7 percent in 2016.
- Cole R-5 (Eugene): An approval rating of 100 percent for 12 buses; that's a continued improvement over last year's approval rating of 91.7 percent, and 66.7 percent in 2016.
- Eldon R-1: An approval rating of 96.7 percent, with 29 buses of 30 approved and one rated out-of-service. That's an improvement over last year's approval rating of 86.7 percent and 90 percent in 2016.
- Fulton 58: An approval rating of 88.2 percent, with 30 buses approved out of 34, and buses rated as out-of-service; Fulton's ratings have also continued to decline a bit from a 94.1 percent approval rating last year and 97.1 percent rating in 2016.
- Jefferson City Public Schools: Seventy-three buses of 77 were approved, with one bus rated out-of-service; the district's rating in 2016 was 96.3 percent.
- Moniteau R-1 (California): An approval rating of 92.9 percent, with 13 buses approved out of 14, and one bus rated as out-of-service; the district's approval rating last year was 78.6 percent for the previous two years.
- New Bloomfield R-3: An approval rating of 84.6 percent, with 11 buses approved out of 13, and two buses rated out-of-service. The district had a 100 percent approval rating last year and was not included in 2016 inspection results.
- Osage R-2 (Linn): An approval rating of 88.9 percent, with 16 buses approved out of 18, and two buses rated as out-of-service; the district has improved after an 81.3 percent approval rating last year, and 68.8 percent in 2016.
- South Callaway R-2: An approval rating of 100 percent for 20 buses. South Callaway has had a perfect bus inspection record for three years.
- Southern Boone: An approval rating of 95.2 percent, with 20 buses approved out of 21 and with no out-of-service buses. The Ashland district has had continued improvement since last year's approval rating of 85 percent and 2016's approval rating of 77.8 percent.
Two hundred eighty-one Missouri school districts earned the Highway Patrol's Total Fleet Excellence Award by having an approval rating of 90 percent or more, with no buses rated as out-of-service. The Eugene, South Callaway and Ashland districts would qualify for the fleet excellence distinction this year by that criteria.
Full school bus inspection results for the past three years are available at mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/MVI/index.html.