Sixty-two out of 64 school buses in the Rolla Public Schools district received approval upon initial inspection during the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s (MSHP) 2013 school bus inspection program.

Sixty-two out of 64 school buses in the Rolla Public Schools district received approval upon initial inspection during the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s (MSHP) 2013 school bus inspection program.

The highway patrol’s motor vehicle inspection division on Monday released the results of the inspections made earlier this year.

The Rolla School District’s fleet had a 96.9 percent approval rating on the first inspection. During the annual school bus inspection program, buses found to be free of defective items are rated as approved.

Rolla Superintendent of Schools Aaron Zalis said the credit for the success goes to the district’s transportation department, mechanical director and the bus drivers themselves, who he said, “take good care of the buses we purchase.”

Zalis said the district’s buses follow 45 routes and he estimates that with more than 60 buses, that amounts to about a half a million miles traveled each school year.

“For the past few years, every year we did pretty well and this year we did really well,” Zalis said.

Only two buses in the Rolla district were found to be defective. Buses with one or more minor defective items, but deemed to be safe for the transport of students, are rated as defective.

Buses rated as defective may continue to be operated for the purpose of pupil transportation until repairs are made.

School districts are allowed 10 days following the initial inspection to repair identified defects before being re-inspected by highway patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel.

Buses with one or more major defective items deemed to be unsafe for the transport of students are placed out-of-service. No buses in the Rolla School District were rated in this category.

Buses that serve Rolla Public Schools scored above the state average, which was 88.3 percent, and the average of school districts in the MSHP Troop I area, which was 87.3 percent.

Because of its rating, the Rolla district was one of a total of 292 Missouri school districts that earned the distinction of Total Fleet Excellence, which is awarded to districts earning an approval rating of 90 percent or higher with no buses placed out-of-service.

Another local district to earn the Total Fleet Excellence designation was the Phelps County R-III School District, which received a 100 percent approval rating this year. The district located in the Edgar Springs area has six buses, all of which received an approval rating.

During the 2013-2014 school year, buses in these award-winning fleets may display the Total Fleet Excellence sticker in the lower corner of the first window on the passenger-entry side of the bus.

In addition, each district earning this distinction receives a certificate from the MSHP.

Of the nine buses that serve B. W. Robinson State School in Rolla, six were rated as approved (66.7 percent), two were rated as defective (22.2 percent) and one was placed out-of-service (11.1 percent).

Buses placed out-of-service by inspectors must be repaired, then re-inspected and placed back into service by the patrol’s motor vehicle inspection personnel prior to being used for the transportation of students.

The bus placed out-of-service at B. W. Robinson State School was one of six that fell into that category in the Troop I area.

Buses in the St. James R-I School District did not fare as well as Rolla Public Schools and Phelps County R-III but scored higher than B.W. Robinson State School. According to the report, out of 23 buses inspected for St. James, 16 were rated as approved, a 69.6 percent approval rating.

The remaining seven buses were classified as defective, a 30.4 percent defective rate. None of the district’s buses fell in the out-of-service category.

In the Newburg R-II School District, out of the 12 buses inspected, 10 of them were rated as approved, a 83.3 percent approval rating. The remaining two buses were rated as defective, a 16.7 percent defective rate. No buses serving Newburg Schools were placed out-of-service.

A total of 11,890 school buses were inspected at school districts statewide between the dates of Feb. 4 and April 30 of this year.

Statewide results for 2013 are as follows:

• 10,493 buses received approval upon initial inspection.

• 1,153 buses were deemed defective upon initial inspection.

• 244 buses were placed out-of-service upon initial inspection.

“I appreciate the positive relationship between the employees of the motor vehicle inspection division and Missouri’s school districts and contracting companies,” said Col. Ron Replogle, MSHP superintendent. “The patrol is pleased with the results of the 2013 annual school bus inspection program. Missouri's school children deserve the safest transportation possible when traveling to and from school each day, and Missouri’s pupil transportation professionals continue to make student safety a top priority. The annual school bus inspection program continues to ensure that Missouri’s school buses are among the safest in the nation.”