Special Needs Transportation

Georgia School District Receives 4 New Special-Needs School Buses

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on December 30, 2019
The Harris County (Ga.) School District has received and put into operation four new Blue Bird buses specifically equipped to transport its special-needs students. Shown from left: Dr. Justin Finney, assistant superintendent of business services and technology; Tim Malaby, fleet manager; and Cheryl Johnson, director of transportation Photo courtesy Harris County School District
The Harris County (Ga.) School District has received and put into operation four new Blue Bird buses specifically equipped to transport its special-needs students. Shown from left: Dr. Justin Finney, assistant superintendent of business services and technology; Tim Malaby, fleet manager; and Cheryl Johnson, director of transportation Photo courtesy Harris County School District

HAMILTON, Ga. — The Harris County School District has received and put into operation four new buses specifically equipped to transport its special-needs students.

The 2021 Blue Bird school buses can carry up to 54 passengers. Additionally, each student has an assigned seat that is customized for the equipment, such as wheelchair and car seat securements, that meets their needs, Cheryl Johnson, the district’s transportation director, told School Bus Fleet.

Having the buses customized for special equipment for these students allows the district to rotate its oldest, non-air-conditioned buses out of the fleet completely, Johnson added in the news release.

Each bus is also outfitted with a four-point camera system, LED interior and exterior lighting, two air-conditioning units, and a Kidde fire suppression system, according to a news release from the district. The district bought the buses from Yancey Bus Sales.

The new buses join the two 2020 Blue Bird special-needs school buses that the district added to the fleet earlier in 2019. (Harris County School District has a total of 11 special-needs buses in its fleet.) In addition, as previously reported, the district’s special-needs school bus drivers and monitors received emergency training in January of last year.

“The transportation department team is very grateful for the new buses which transport our students with special needs,” Johnson said in the news release.

The buses were financed with $93,960 of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and $308,880 of state bonds from the Georgia Department of Education, according to Dr. Justin Finney, assistant superintendent of business services and technology for the district.

Other SPLOST-funded expenditures at Harris County School District include the construction of a new transportation facility, additional buses, safety and security upgrades at each school, and the purchase of classroom computers and other instructional technology at each school.

The price tag for each bus was $100,710, adding up to a total of $402,840.

“The school district and board of education continue to look for ways to maximize possible funding sources,” Finney added.

The district’s transportation department also recently received a donation of 125 emergency kits from Harris County’s Emergency Management Services (EMS).

The “Stop the Bleed” trauma kits each include a tourniquet, two pairs of nitrile gloves, one pair of trauma shears, gauze, a trauma pad, and an English/Spanish instruction card.

The Georgia Trauma Commission, along with the Georgia Trauma Foundation, the Georgia Society of the American College of Surgeons, and the Georgia Committee on Trauma collaboratively launched the nationwide "Stop the Bleed” campaign in Georgia. The campaign shares knowledge gained by first responders and members of the military with the public to help save lives by stopping uncontrolled bleeding in emergency situations.

Related Topics: Georgia, special needs

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Donna Scott

     | about 2 months ago

    Apparently you have quite a few students required the use of "wheelchair" access. Are your bus stops at the home of the disabled? Do you have a second adult riding the bus to assist the students on/off the bus? Where does the regular size school bus stop to pick up students who use the wheelchair lift to get on/off the bus? Does that particular bus stop affect the flow of traffic? What is the average time it takes to load or unload the students. How does an evacuation drill work out for all these students? How does this affect your bus route set ups? Longer distance? double buses on same route? As new students move in or as students change address how long does it take to adjust the bus for the change? These are the questions that come to mind immediately. I'm sure as I reflect on this article other questions will come up. I know that Georgia has more "flat roads" then our roads here in Western PA so that could be a plus for large bus with wheelchair access.

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