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school bus

A yellow school bus driving down the road
Like_the_Grand_Canyon / flickr

Michigan lawmakers are discussing ways to make school buses safer.

The House Judiciary Committee reviewed a package of bills during a hearing Tuesday.

State Rep. Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann) backs a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized person to board a school bus.

School bus
Bill McChesney / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bipartisan group of lawmakers say school busses need to be more secure.

A package of bills would make it a crime to enter a school bus without the permission of the driver. In some cases, it would be a felony.

School Bus
Nicolae Gerasim / Flickr

Michigan parents with smartphones can help keep track of school buses that didn't pass the state's annual safety inspection.

Inspection results for individual buses can be accessed by scanning a QR code sticker found on the bus's door.

The state says 85% of school buses passed this year’s safety inspection. The 15% that didn’t pass received either a “yellow” or “red” status.

School bus traversing the snow.
User Kristin Andrus / flickr.com

The latest inspections by the Michigan State Police have cataloged problems in the state's school bus fleet.

And according to Francis Donnelley of the Detroit News "small, rural school districts were experiencing the most problems with their buses during the 2013-14 school year."

According to the "School Bus Inspection Results for School Year 2014" issued by the Michigan State Police, 1,739 buses out of the 16,984 in the state's fleet failed inspection.

Some counties had worse records than others. 

  • In Mason County Central, 13 of 18 buses failed inspection.
  • In Ubly Community Schools in the Michigan Thumb, 9 of 12 failed.
  • In Vestaburg Community Schools in central Michigan, 9 of 9 buses failed.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing school board has put off a decision on whether to privatize the district’s bus service.

School officials say the proposal would save the district five million dollars over the next five years, primarily by not having to pay to replace dozens of aging school buses.

But the district’s unionized bus drivers raised questions about the plan.

Peter Spadafore is the school board president. He says giving the union one week to spell out its concerns is a good idea.