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Purpose of the review is to ensure student safety and looks at buses and other school vehicles transporting Crook County students

PHOTO COURTESY OF CROOK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
 - All staff who transport students must undergo training and be certified with either Type 10 or Type 20 certifications.

With public safety being paramount and in the spotlight nationally in our schools, Crook County schools are proud of their safety record.

The Crook County School District Transportation Department recently underwent a successful audit. The Oregon Department of Education's Pupil Transportation Unit rotates through the school districts approximately every 7 years, and it conducted the audit.

"It means that we take safety as a priority in this district, and we do a really good job of it," said CCSD Transportation Supervisor Michelle Williams about the inspection.

The purpose of the review is to ensure student safety, but it is also required under the Oregon vehicle code. The review includes inspection of randomly chosen vehicles used to transport students — including buses and vans. The inspection and review also includes monitoring of all transportation records.

Patty Harper, driver trainer for CCSD Transportation Department, is in charge of all of the training for the district's bus drivers, as well as Type 10 and Type 20 drivers. All staff who transport students must undergo training and be certified with either Type 10 or type 20 certifications. A Type 20 certification requires the driver to go through a training to drive a small bus to transport students to an event and back to school.

"Our buses for Type 20 hold 14 passengers plus the driver," said Harper. "A Type 10 is allowed to transport students and may be used to pick up students at home if necessary and also for events.  Our Type 10 vehicles hold no more than eight."

"I keep files for each person with all of their information in them, and they all have to be in a certain order as well as up to date," Harper said. "I make sure that all of the CDL and drivers' licenses are up to date, as well as their first aid cards."

She emphasized that keeping these records current and organized is important, not only for the transportation records, but because they are thoroughly inspected during the audit.

"There are performance checklists and their DMV driving tests as well as their driving records in the files," Harper added. "The bus drivers have to have medical cards and physicals in order and up to date also. The state goes through all of our files, so I was happy that they were all good, up to date and in order."

"It's very thorough," Williams said. "They pretty much go through everything. We did really well. We had the documentation they needed. The drivers did well and the mechanics did well."

She added that the inspection includes vehicle and driver files.

"They look to make sure we are doing the things we are supposed to be doing," said Williams.

The inspection includes records of bus evacuation drills and where they are filed. Based on the number of buses, the inspectors choose a random selection of vehicles that transport students — not just buses.

"It's not necessarily just buses," said Williams. "It's anything that is used to transport students, so it could be the vans we have or it could be the buses."

With an extensive checklist, inspectors spend approximately two hours on each vehicle. They look under the buses and inspect each item.

"Buses are annually inspected by our mechanics," Williams continued. "They go through and do a very thorough annual inspection on those buses to ensure that all of those things have been looked at and fixed and taken care of."

The inspectors also go through a handful of type 10 and 20 drivers and go through those files, as well as bus driver files.

"They talk about our routes — where we route kids, railroad crossings, and then kind of go through any questions and any issues we have come up with," she said. "They look at our supplemental plan, which we needed to update and redo since we had moved the grade schools and Crooked River was there, and the supplemental plan had still included Ochoco Grade School, so we got that updated."

She emphasized that the inspection isn't intended to be a punitive visit; it's intended to focus on how students in Oregon are transported safely.

"It starts at Dr. Johnson's (CCD Superintendent of Schools) desk and it goes all the way down to the drivers and the monitors," said Williams. "And it's because Dr. Johnson puts safety first that we are able to budget to put safety first — and all the way down. I think that's really important — that this district makes this a priority."


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