Tom Simpson previously served as transportation director for Humboldt (Iowa) Community School District.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Tom Simpson has been hired as a new third member of the state school bus inspection team, the Iowa Department of Education (DOE)'s transportation office announced on Thursday.
The addition of a third inspector was enabled by legislative approval in June to increase the state school bus inspection fee from $28 to $40 per vehicle.
Simpson joins the state DOE from Humboldt (Iowa) Community School District, where he served as the transportation director for more than nine years. He was selected from a pool of more than 60 applicants for the new inspector position.
Iowa state pupil transportation director Max Christensen said that Simpson "has done such a fine job in Humboldt over the years, and his concern for the safety of students riding the bus was very apparent during the interview process. We’ll now be able to harness his expertise in helping kids to be safely transported on school buses throughout all of Iowa.”
With the addition of the third inspector, the state will now be divided into three inspection territories, instead of the two inspection territories that have been in existence for more than 40 years. The new territories will be the west section, central section and east section.
The DOE's other two inspectors, veteran Verlan Vos and recent hire Joe Funk, will facilitate the central and east sections, respectively. Simpson will take on the duties in the west section.
All three inspectors will work with districts of 90 or more vehicles. Officials said that with the addition of a new staff member, the DOE will now be able to do call-back inspections on vehicles with serious deficiencies in an effort to ensure that proper repairs are being completed in a timely manner.
Christensen said that Iowa’s school transportation office is unique in that it is fully funded by fees charged for inspections. School buses in the state are inspected twice yearly, with a total of nearly 15,000 vehicle inspections each year.