The first Ohio Highway Patrol bus inspection is over and four of 13 buses have passed. The other nine need some minor repairs before they can get the green light.
"Every year we have buses that don't pass the first inspection," said Transportation Director Janet Marsteller. "We have an older fleet and really need some new buses."
Most of the nine buses were red-flagged for rips in the seating. Marsteller said she has purchased a repair kit from Myers Equipment that can make a quick, permanent repair. The kit includes what Marsteller calls goop that is spread over the tear, then heated to blend in.
"After the repair, you can hardly tell it was ripped," she said.
The biggest problem was a bus that had a hydraulic leak in the system that controlled the double-entry doors. While the doors worked, the inspector heard a hissing sound meaning there was a leak in the system that would need to be fixed.
On Wednesday this week, the inspector returned to Poland to continue inspecting the other 11 buses and the ones repaired since the first inspection.
Marsteller said each bus that passes inspection will receive a blue sticker. Those that didn't get a sticker have the problems listed on a form. The forms are given to mechanics who will make the repairs and have the buses re-inspected. By the start of school, all the buses should pass the inspections and will be road ready.
The inspections don't stop at the start of school though. Marsteller said the Ohio Highway Patrol occasionally does a surprise inspection during the school year. That ensures the buses are being properly maintained and safe for the students to ride. Marsteller said once in a while, a bus will be taken out of service during those inspections.
"We work closely with the Highway Patrol," she said. "We make the repairs and call them as soon as possible. They are very good about coming out to pass the bus and get it back into service."
Poland has 24 buses, with the newest being a 2011 model. Most are from the late 1990s.