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Last updated: Wed. Aug. 11, 2010 - 10:01 am EDT

BACK-TO-SCHOOL CHECKUPS UNDER WAY

FWCS buses draw week of inspections

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Indiana State Police on Tuesday completed the first of seven days of annual school bus inspections for Fort Wayne Community Schools.

State police inspected 52 of the more than 300 FWCS buses on the first day, said Sgt. Ron Galaviz, spokesman for the Fort Wayne post of the Indiana State Police. Thirteen buses had minor violations that were taken care of. Three had out-of-service violations, two that were fixed Tuesday and one that will be fixed by today.

State law requires that every bus go through an inspection before the start of school each year. Inspectors have a list of about 400 items to check, including brake lights, exhaust leaks and emergency doors. If buses continue to pass inspections, they can stay in use for up to 12 years.

“We had a very good inspection today,” FWCS Transportation North Supervisor Vin Smith said. “Hopefully, by the end of the process we have 100 percent of our buses with safety stickers on them.”

The district started documenting its 100 percent pass rate in 1998, Smith said, and has achieved that goal every year since.

Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools have already completed their safety inspections for the year. Northwest Allen County Schools Transportation Director Tom North said inspectors found issues with 11 out of the 78 buses. Mechanics took care of the minor violations, such as noisy auxiliary fans and an oil leak.

“I was very, very pleased,” North said. “Everything had a sticker on before they left.”

Southwest Allen County Schools Transportation Director David Rarick said all 78 of that district’s buses passed inspections as well. Many buses face general wear and tear throughout the year, Rarick said. The mechanics fix different parts of the buses such as tires on a monthly basis to make sure they are operating at the highest level.

East Allen County Schools officials could not be reached for comment.

Indiana State Police inspectors will be at FWCS Transportation North for three more days before checking the buses at FWCS Transportation South for the remaining three days.

This year, Indiana State Police took over the inspection process, which was previously shared with the Department of Transportation.

“I’ve found these guys to be very fair about things and good about their jobs,” Smith said. “So before the school year starts, these buses are ready to roll and get the community’s children to and from school safely.”

cjohnston@jg.net


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