KANSAS CITY, Mo. — North Kansas City Schools' transportation department has earned the Excellent Fleet Award from the Missouri Highway Patrol after receiving an inspection rating of 99.4 percent.
The department has had an inspection rating above 90 percent — the percentile required to qualify for the award — for 15 consecutive years. A 15-year plaque and award stickers for each bus will be awarded at the July conference of the Missouri Association for Pupil Transportation.
Transportation Director Shirley Patrick said that of the more than 100 items inspected on each of the district's 148 buses, only one "slightly loose item" prevented the district from earning a perfect score of 100.
This accomplishment, according to Patrick, takes the cooperation of mechanics and shop staff, along with bus drivers — who report daily on how their school buses are functioning — to meet the rigors of state annual inspections. She credited Shop Supervisor Dave Argabright and his team of mechanics, including Dave Anderson, Rob Faris, John Ray and Tom Wilson; lube tech Jim Dunkin; and shop helper Cindy Dunkin for making sure that the students the department serves travel safely to and from school each day.
More than 14,000 students of the district's 18,500 are currently eligible for transportation. The district comprises four high schools, five middle schools and 21 elementary schools spread over more than 82 square miles.
Five days a week, buses travel on 520 regular-education routes as well as 156 routes for students with disabilities. Additionally, buses transport up to 500 more students each day for field trips and athletic events. In total, district buses travel about 10,500 miles each day and approximately 1.9 million miles each year.