Morgan gets bus safety award

Apr 24 2011 - 11:02pm

MORGAN -- Morgan School District has some of the safest buses in the state, as shown by a Utah Department of Safety/Utah Highway Patrol Gold Award, an award honoring exceptional bus maintenance.

The award goes to districts with the lowest bus-defect rates in the state. The highway patrol inspects each school bus annually and conducts surprise spot inspections during the year.

"Our buses are the safest in the state," said Mike Shope, Morgan transportation supervisor. "This is a lot of hard work."

Had an emergency buzzer been functioning during a surprise inspection, Morgan buses would have passed with a 100 percent rate, Shope said. But a 99 percent safety rate was enough for UHP's top award, which only a handful of other school districts in the state earned.

Shope said construction of a new transportation facility will help the district keep up the high safety ratings.

"Building a new bus garage will help us bring 85 percent of (repair and maintenance) work in house," as opposed to contracting the work out, Shope said. "It will save the taxpayers an incredible amount of money. It's such a positive thing for Morgan."

Shope said contracting work out costs as much as $80 each hour. However, with a state licensed mechanic who is also a district employee using the new facilities, the price would instead be $22 an hour.

The new facility, with a projected 2012 completion date, will feature an inside bus lift and other equipment the district now lacks in the cramped State Street location.

Currently, employees crawl beneath buses to change the oil, a process that can take two hours. With the new lift, the process will take only 45 minutes.

The district sends 15 buses on routes each day, with at least 60 students on each, while keeping another five as spares.

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