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Articles/News with Iowa tag

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Stop-arm cameras violate surveillance ban, critics say
July 22, 2014
Those opposed to the newly-installed cameras on Iowa City (Iowa) Community School District school buses say they violate the city’s traffic camera ban, and systems like this are designed to create revenue, not improve safety. Iowa City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes disagrees, saying that the law bans traffic cameras only for “qualified traffic violations” and stop-arm violations are not included.
Iowa updates school bus spec rules
July 16, 2014
Among changes to the state's school transportation equipment specs are requirements for remote-controlled mirrors, fluorescent seat belts for drivers, and fire block upholstery in all seating positions. Lap belts are no longer allowed on new school buses in Iowa, except for use with child seats.
Iowa announces school bus tech competition winner
June 25, 2014
Mike Ehrlich, a bus technician from Western Dubuque Schools, won the sixth annual “Best of the Best Technician’s Training & Competition,” held in Waterloo, Iowa, on June 12. Ehrlich will advance to the “America’s Best” competition to be held at the National Association for Pupil Transportation Summit in Kansas City, Mo.
Congressman pushes school bus safety 'overhaul' bill
May 14, 2014
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduces legislation in the House of Representatives that would set minimum penalties nationwide for stop-arm running. The bill would also mandate that all states require background checks for school bus drivers, and it would create a school bus seat belt demonstration program, among other measures.
Former director pleads guilty to records tampering
March 14, 2014
Douglas Wessling will reportedly receive two years of probation and an order to pay a $1,000 fine for the crime, which is an aggravated misdemeanor. In the fall, he resigned as transportation director from Iowa's Galva-Holstein Community School District after state inspectors found that buses in the fleet that had issues had not been repaired, despite Wessling notifying the state otherwise.
Iowa bill would require seat belts on new school buses
February 14, 2014
School buses ordered for purchase on or after July 1, 2014, would have to be equipped with the belts, and drivers and passengers would be required to use them under the legislation that was recently introduced. A violation of the seat belt requirements would result in a $50 fine.
Student detection systems allowed on Iowa school buses
February 13, 2014
State director Max Christensen says that the technology is now permitted on Iowa’s school buses, but it’s not required. Sensor-driven or video-based student detection systems are permitted, with no strict criteria set, which Christensen says opens the field to new ideas in developing more advanced and better designs.
Driver who left child on bus expected to resign
January 2, 2014
Dan Danielson, who is also the transportation director at Algona (Iowa) Community School District, allegedly left Logan Cavin, a 4-year-old student, on a school bus for several hours on the morning of Dec. 19. Cavin was discovered at the school district's transportation facility at about 1 p.m. by another bus driver.
Iowa officials caution against falsifying bus repairs
November 19, 2013
The warnings come after the arrests of two district transportation officials who allegedly lied to the state that problems with buses in their fleets had been repaired. In September, the state Department of Education’s transportation office hired a third school bus inspector, which has enabled the department to do call-back inspections on buses with serious deficiencies.
3rd school bus inspector hired in Iowa
September 5, 2013
The addition of a third inspector was enabled by recent legislative approval to increase the state school bus inspection fee from $28 to $40 per vehicle. Tom Simpson, previously the transportation director for Humboldt (Iowa) Community School District, is appointed to the new inspector position.
Iowa school bus sprayed by crop duster
September 3, 2013
The superintendent of Belmond-Klemme Community School District says that at least seven students were on the bus when it was sprayed with what he believes was insecticide, and about 25 more students were then picked up. The district contacted parents, and students were taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Iowa district moves to stop ineligible bus riders
August 15, 2013
Waterloo Community Schools will mail postcards with bus stop information to all eligible riders instead of printing it in a local newspaper to help prevent students who do not qualify for service from catching a ride. The district’s superintendent says a “significant” number of students who don’t qualify for service ride at no cost, and one of the district’s goals is to reduce routes and save money.
School board approves 3% bus fee hike
July 11, 2013
The fee will be higher starting with the upcoming school year. The South Sioux City (Neb.) district is looking for a way to balance its transportation budget; it was only reimbursed by the state for half of the nearly $570,000 that was spent on busing last school year.
Iowa school bus tech takes state title
June 19, 2013
Kevin Settle of Western Dubuque Community School District wins Iowa's fifth annual "Best of the Best" competition for school bus technicians. He advances to this year's national competition, to be held in Seattle in September.
Iowa school bus inspection fee increases from $28 to $40
June 14, 2013
The state’s Legislative Rules Committee narrowly approves the increase, which will enable the state Department of Education’s Office of School Transportation to hire a third inspector. State director of pupil transportation Max Christensen tells SBF that his office is immediately going into “hiring mode.”
Update: Body of missing Iowa teen found
June 11, 2013
Authorities confirm that a body discovered in the Des Moines River on Friday is that of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who was abducted after she and another girl got in a stranger's vehicle at their school bus stop on May 20.
Teen still missing after taking ride from stranger
May 28, 2013
Kathlynn Shepard, 15, and a 12-year-old girl were lured into a man's truck shortly after exiting their school bus last week in Dayton, Iowa. The 12-year-old was able to escape, and the suspect was found dead, but Shepard is still missing.
2 bus drivers die in Iowa, New Mexico incidents
April 11, 2013
An Iowa school bus driver passes away after suffering a medical emergency during his route, but officials say that he pulled the bus over safely and no students were injured. The incident follows the death of another driver in New Mexico, where a bus went off of a road and down an embankment.
Iowa testing student detection systems for school buses
April 1, 2013
A system from Rostra Precision Controls Inc. and a system from National Patent Analytical Systems Inc. are undergoing evaluation for potential installation on school buses in the state to help prevent danger zone injuries and fatalities. The installation of such a system is a goal of the Smile BIG Foundation, which was founded in honor of Justin Bradfield. Bradfield was killed in a 2011 danger zone accident.
New school bus inspector hired in Iowa
March 15, 2013
Joe Funk takes over duties for inspecting school buses in the western region of the state. He joins inspector Verlan Vos and replaces Owen Freese, who recently retired from the position. A school bus inspection fee increase that is awaiting final approval will allow the Iowa Department of Education to hire one more inspector.
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