Early County Schools looking into bus problems

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BLAKELY, GA (WTVY) -- Questions of school bus safety have been brought up for Early County's school district.

From a rear tire falling off to failed bus inspections.

"Safety is always the top concern, not only in the school, but on the buses," says Early County Superintendent Dr. Bronwyn Ragan-Martin.

Wednesday 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Early County Middle School were tested to see if they know what to do if there's an issue on their school bus.

With an aging bus fleet, issues are bound to come up.

Early County School Transportation Director Jeff Daniels says, "As long as the bus is safe to operate, as long as it's in good running condition, we can operate it indefinitely."

The district hired a full-time mechanic in February to keep the buses in good condition.

It's not just the new mechanic who's keeping eye on the bus.

"Every bus driver inspects their bus each morning before they operate it, each evening. Every time they turn the key they do an inspection," says Daniels.

The average shelf life for a gas-powered bus is eight years, and those with diesel engines last about 10.

Dr Ragan-Martin says the district is working with the state to get new buses.

She said, "In the past, we've received enough to purchase perhaps one bus, and sometimes it's not even enough for one bus."

A new bus on average costs $77,000.