June 9, 2009
State Senate passes and sends to governor bill to extend
service of school buses
(NASHVILLE, TN), June 9, 2009 — The State Senate has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) authorizing local education agencies (LEAs) to extend the use of school buses for two more years as long as they do not exceed 200,000 miles and meet certain safety requirements. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cobb (R-Spring City) in the House of Representatives, gives school boards more tools to plan their transportation budget needs.
“This bill saves local governments money while enhancing safety for students riding the buses due to increased inspections for these vehicles,” said Senator Yager. “It is a win-win situation for all concerned.”
Currently, education boards may use a school bus for 12 years, at which time the Commissioner of Education may grant waivers for an additional three years on a year-to-year basis upon meeting the requirements similar to those of conventional school buses. Under the bill, LEAs would be authorized to ask for a waiver to use a bus up to 17 years, as long as it does not exceed the 200,000-mile cap and the bus is inspected at least twice annually. The inspectors could mandate needed repairs.
Any bus reaching the 200,000 limit would have to be replaced within 90 days. The local agencies would be required to maintain records of all actions and safety inspections performed on the bus from its in-service date for the Tennessee Department of Safety.
“School buses are built to last a long time as long as they are serviced regularly,” added Yager. “I am pleased we came to a resolution on this legislation that will help our local governments in planning their transportation needs and that makes sure we put safety first for our students.”