PERU, N.Y. — Peru Central School District recently painted identifying information on the roofs of all its school buses in an effort to make it easier to identify a bus from the air in case of a need for assistance.
The proposal to install the lettering came from Transportation Services Department Supervisor Howard Newton, said A. Paul Scott, Peru Central’s superintendent of schools.
“The transportation team has had a rather progressive program of continuous improvement, from routing and training to day-to-day protocols,” Scott said. “This is one more avenue for ready and prompt identification of a school bus, should that ever be necessary.”
Scott said that because the proposal was determined to be practical, relatively low-cost and beneficial, the school district soon had the lettering installed by Yipes! Auto Accessories, a shop located in nearby Plattsburgh, N.Y. The roofs were labeled with the school district name and the bus’ unique fleet identification number.
As a rural school district, Scott explained that the fleet of about 40 buses is spread across a large territory on any given day and that activity trips often take buses far from the district, sometimes out of state. The transportation services department handles 25 daily regular runs and up to 80 special trips in a month, Scott said.
However, Peru Central is in an area with more air coverage — made up of aircraft from local hospitals, state and local law enforcement, and a nearby commercial airport — than the typical school district, said Scott. “We thought, there’s assistance we could get from a number of agencies if there’s ever a bus that needed help right away,” he said.
A bill (A3742) that would require all New York school districts to label school buses with identifying information painted on their roofs was introduced in the state’s assembly in January 2007, but it has been held for consideration in the assembly’s transportation committee since that time.
“We’re not aware of any other district at this point in our state that has implemented this,” Scott said. “In our area there’s increasing awareness and presence of aircraft, so this can be a very handy thing in terms of trying to get prompt help in whatever the situation may be. I don’t think we’ll be the last district that’ll be doing it.”