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  • Springfield News-Leader

    How safe are Springfield-area school buses? Here's how they rated in annual inspection

    By Claudette Riley, Springfield News-Leader,


    The Missouri State Highway Patrol recently completed its annual inspection of all school buses and the ones used by districts in the Springfield area fared well.

    Only two Greene County districts and three Christian County districts had any buses that were rated "out of service" after an initial inspection.

    The overwhelming majority of school buses used by districts in those counties passed inspection on the first try.

    Each year, the thorough inspections are completed by the patrol's Driver and Vehicle Safety Division. The list of safety items is lengthy, ranging from brakes, emergency doors and exhaust systems to signals, tires and windshield wipers.

    The results were released Tuesday.

    Superintendent Grenita Lathan said Springfield Public Schools had its highest pass rate in seven years.

    "I wanted to congratulate our transportation department for their recent state inspection. Thanks to their efforts, SPS earned the highest bus inspection (rate) since 2017 with 97.9%," Lathan said at the end of the Tuesday school board meeting. "The average rate in Missouri is 88.5%."

    According to Col. Eric Olson, superintendent of the patrol, 10,055 school buses were rated as "approved" — meaning they met safety expectations — on the first try.

    Another 895 were initially rated as "defective," meaning they had one or more components that required repair within 10 days.

    Finally, 410 were rated as "out of service" so issues could be addressed plus a reinspection by the patrol was required before they could be used to transport any passengers.

    “Through the unified effort of Missouri State Highway Patrol personnel and pupil transportation professionals statewide, the successful inspection of 11,360 school buses occurred in accordance with Missouri revised state statutes,” Olson said in a news release. “The patrol, Missouri schools, and private pupil transportation companies share the common goal of keeping our schoolchildren safe while they travel on school buses.”

    A total of 262 districts earned the patrol's Total Fleet Excellence award for 2024 and the 4,931 buses in those districts are eligible to display a sticker signifying the accomplishment during the 2024-25 year.

    A look at how districts in Greene and Christian counties fared during the initial 2024 inspection:

    • Ash Grove − Of 15 buses, 86.7% passed on first try, 13.3% were defective;
    • Billings − Of six buses, 50% passed on first try, 50% were defective;
    • Chadwick − Of nine buses, 88.9% passed on first try, 11.1% were out of service;
    • Clever − Of 15 buses, 100% passed on first try;
    • Logan-Rogersville − Of 29 buses, 89.7% passed on first try, 6.9% were defective, 3.4% were out of service;
    • Nixa − Of 48 buses, 100% passed on first try;
    • Ozark − Of 60 buses, 91.7% passed on first try, 5% were defective, 3.3% were out of service;
    • Republic − Of 58 buses, 98.3% passed on first try, 1.7% were out of service;
    • Sparta − Of 13 buses, 100% passed on first try;
    • Springfield − Of 145 buses, 97.9% passed on first try; 2.1 percent were defective;
    • Spokane − Of 12 buses, 83.3% passed on first try, 8.3% were defective, 8.3% were out of service;
    • Strafford − Of 21 buses, 100% passed on first try;
    • Walnut Grove − Of five buses, 60% passed on first try, 40% were defective;
    • Willard − Of 48 buses, 95.8% passed on first try, 4.2% were defective;

    For a complete list, go to

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