Concerns About Western Heights School Buses Arise After Failed Inspection Reports

Tuesday, August 3rd 2021, 6:54 pm
By: Augusta McDonnell


In a court hearing Monday, a state attorney raised questions about whether or not the buses at Western Heights School District will be ready to transport kids on the first day of school. 

Western Heights has 34 buses. News 9 obtained 18 of their inspection reports. 

Sixteen of the 18 reports indicate those buses did not pass inspection. 

But what isn’t clear at this point, is whether or not the repair work will be completed, and will it be done in time for the first day of class. 

Summit Truck Group performed the annual required inspections on all 34 busses. 

Sources told News 9 they submitted an estimate to complete the repair work as well, but it has not been authorized by Western Heights. 

It is possible Western Heights could ask another company to do the repairs or do them in-house. 

But News 9 received and email that calls into question whether or not that repair work will be completed at all by Western Heights staff. 

An email sent by a school mechanic to the state claims the mechanic overheard the school’s operations director, Paula Stewart saying:

“We should have hired someone else to check the buses so we could bypass safety issues found with the buses and I know a person who is certified to do that for us I can make a call.”

The State Department of Education said Tuesday their appointed interim superintendent Monty Guthrie is working to resolve the bus issue. 

Western Heights appointed superintendent Kim Race released a statement Monday saying:

“Although we have a lot of minor items to fix, we are glad we do not have major issues to fix. Even though we have more buses in our fleet than we actually need, we also have seven (7) more new buses on the way…” 

Western Heights legal representation and administrators did not respond to requests for information about whether or not the buses will be fixed.