^S^ ^^ I Office of Public Instruction
^^M W^ 1 Linda McCulloch, Superintendent
PO Box 202501
Helena, MT 59620-2501
Montana Pupil Transportation
News and Updates
Maxine Mougeot, Director of Pupil Transportation
A Monthly Newsletter Published by Pupil Transportation, School Budgeting and Accounting Division
If You Missed The New Pupil Transportation Web Site
Last Montli, Here It Is Again...
Go to www.opi.state.mt.us select <Pupil Transportation>
from the drop down menu of Programs and Services at OPI.
From the new web site, you can email the director, link to
MAPI, read the proposed standards, catch the news, access
all the NEW FORMS, check out other state directors and
activities, read the law, and access the Transportation
Handbook issued in 2001. If there is anything that you would
like to see on the site, please feel free to email me at
mmougeotfg),state.mt.us with your suggestions.
Do you have questions about the Bus Depreciation fund.
Transportation fund or other school finance issues? While
you are in OPI's web site listed above. Click the tab at the
top titled <Get Answers>. Under <Product> type in school
finance and under <Search Text> type in bus depreciation
New TR-1 and TR-4 Forms Are In Tlie Mail and On the
Pupil Transportation has a new accounting and data
management system. The new programming requires a
change in the arrangement of data entry cells; therefore we
made some changes to the TR-1 and TR-4 forms. We have
tried to eliminate unnecessary data elements, clarify those
elements that weren't as clear as possible, and also tried to
arrange all new forms so there is more room available for
typing or writing in the data.
I know that some of you have computerized the forms you
use and it will take some extra effort on your part to make
these changes. At this time, please feel free to continue to use
your computerized forms. Our goal is to have the new forms
on-line in printable format, to pre-fill at least all district
information, bus and contract information and eventually to
have pre -filled forms on-line so a district only has to update
I am excited about all of the changes that are being made to
the transportation accounting and data management system.
Eventually district personnel will be able to enter data,
calculate reimbursement amounts, check on driver
certificates and bus inspections, calculate daily rates for
Individual Contracts and see the total amounts reimbursed by
the state. There won't be any surprises and there shouldn't be
Do You Need Help Advertising Vacant Transportation
School Bus Fleet magazine would like to know if there are
any job openings for directors, supervisors or other school
transportation personnel in our state. As an added resource to
their readers. School Bus Fleet magazine would like to
publicize the openings and help ease the shortage of labor. If
there are any notable position openings that you are aware of
in Montana, please reply to the address below with more
information. Any input would be very much appreciated.
Feel free to respond with any questions or concerns to:
Assistant Editor, School Bus Fleet Magazine
21061 S. Western Avenue
Torrance, C A 90501
(310) 533-2589, FAX (310) 533-2502
Since You Asked
Do you know where I can find bid and procurement
information? We want to buy a new bus.
Click on <Procurement and Printing>.
Exactly what can we use the Bus Depreciation Fund for?
MCA 20-10-147 Bus Depreciation Reserve Fund. When a
district owns a bus or two-way radio for purposes of
transportation, as defined in 20-10-101, or for purposes of
conveying pupils to and from school functions or activities,
they may establish a bus depreciation reserve fund. This
fund can be used for conversion, remodeling or rebuilding of
a bus or for the replacement of a bus (includes replacing an
activity bus) or radio. The district may also use this fund for
purchase of an additional yellow school bus used for
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Does the Highway Patrol inspect fire extinguishers that we
are required to keep in the school bus when they do the bus
No. A representative of the State Fire Marshall's office said
that the fire code requires that authorized personnel inspect
fire extinguishers once per year. If you have questions you
can call the State Fire Marshall's general number, (406) 444-
2050. The assistant will forward you to the appropriate
MAPT Conference Information
The Montana Association for Pupil Transportation has sent
out the registration forms for the June 19-21, 2002
Conference to be held at the Belgrade High School and
Special Events Center. The conference title is "Driving to
Protect You in 2002." Registration is due to Linda Michel at
MAPT by June 1 ''^ The registration fee is $70 if paid by June
Conference information was included in the OPI mailing for
March. If you need additional copies of any of the materials,
just send me an email at mmougeot(g),state.mt.us . Conference
events include First Aid and Driver Training, School Bus
Road-e-o, Vendor presentations, Bar-B-Que, Smoke Filled
Bus Evacuation and many interesting workshop sessions and
speakers. I look forward to seeing you there. Sign up early
and get the discount.
STN Expo and Trade Show in Reno, Nevada
Conference dates are July 27-31, 2002 in Reno Nevada. The
conference is held at the Reno Hilton each year. The
conference schedule, travel and hotel information,
registration and any other information you may need is
available at http://www.stnonline.com.
In Tlie News
Tlie National Transportation Safety Board, Opposed to
Cliildcare Vans, Adds Case to Inquiry
By James W. Brosnan
WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety
Board will investigate Thursday's fatal van crash in Memphis
as part of an ongoing look at the safety of the large passenger
vans used by many day care centers and churches.
In 1999, the safety board faulted states for not requiring
Head Start and day care programs to transport children in
regular or small school buses. Such vehicles must be built
with stronger sides and roofs than vans like the 15-passenger
Ford E350 involved in Thursday's crash.
"We're looking at this issue of 15-passenger vans," said
safety board spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz. "We have
ongoing investigations involving accidents over the last year
and a half. "
One of the five safety board members, George Black, and an
investigator, Gary Van Etten, were scheduled to be in
Memphis by this morning.
Former NTSB chairman Jim Hall of Chattanooga said he
initiated an investigation of the large passenger vans and
specialty buses in the late 1990s. "They're used in lieu of
school buses, which are federally designed and regulated
vehicles for the transportation of children. School buses have
to meet very rigid standards," said Hall. "The 15-passenger
van is just a commercial vehicle. Many times it is just a basic
shell on an engine frame. It is used as a low-cost alternative
for private schools and for day care trips."
School buses have strengthened side joints and a cage-like
structure to support the roof in the event of a rollover. The
seats have to have high backs and padding.
State officials don't know how many large passenger vans are
used to transport day care children in Shelby County, only
that they are quite common. Many churches use them too,
and so do some schools when transporting children to
Beginning in 1998, the safety board investigated four
accidents over 1 1 months involving large vans or other
special non-bus vehicles that resulted in the deaths of eight
children and one adult and injuries to 36 people.
On March 25, 1998, in Sweetwater, Fla., three children were
ejected from a 15-passenger van and sustained head injuries.
A day later, two people died when a 25-passenger specialty-
bus taking children from a school event in Lenoir City,
Tenn., collided with a truck.
On Dec. 8, 1998, in Dublin, Ga., one child was killed when a
Head Start van collided with a pickup truck. And on Feb. 16,
1999, in Bennettsville, S.C, six children died when a tow
track strack their church's 15-passenger van.
There's no way to know if the children who died in
Thursday's crash would have survived if they had been riding
in a bus. But the safety board concluded that all the children
in the accidents it investigated for the 1999 report probably
would have lived had they been in a school bus.
"When states and various school systems allow children to be
transported in vehicles not meeting federal school bus
construction standards, the federal intent of protecting
schoolchildren is undermined," the report said. Only a
handful of states require school buses for day care and Head
Start transportation, and Tennessee is not among them. The
board recommended that states require any vehicle used to
transport 10 or more children from school, camp or day care
centers or for similar purposes to meet the same federal
safety standards applicable to small school buses.
Copyright, 2002, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN. Used here with
permission. No additional reproduction or distribution of this article in any
form is permitted without the written approval of The Commercial Appeal.
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Administrative Rules of Montana 10.7.110 (1) Standards
for School Buses states in part, "Motor vehicles designed to
carry 10 or fewer persons do not meet the definition of a
school bus and are not eligible for route reimbursement. To
be eligible for reimbursement, motor vehicles that carry more
than 10 persons must meet the school bus standards set by
the Board of Public Education for school buses in Montana
and must pass semiannual inspection by the Montana
School Transportation News provides the following
article on the Use of Non-Conforming Vans
Vans in School Transportation Service
"School buses provide the United States with an estimated 10
billion student rides annually. The use of vans for athletic
trips and other extra curricular school activities is a hot issue
in school transportation. The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration refers to these small passenger vans,
while used in school transportation service, as "non-
conforming." The phrase non-conforming van arises
principally from two conditions.
First, the fact that passenger vans (generally carrying eight to
15 passengers) are not manufactured to the same stringent
federal motor vehicle safety standards as traditional yellow
school buses. For example, FMVSS 111,131, 220, 221 and
222 are not required in the manufacture of vans. As a result
these vehicles do not provide the same degree of occupant
protection to passengers that school buses do.
Second, when these vans are used in school service, whether
for regular route service or, more commonly, for activity or
athletic trips, they do not conform to federal law which
requires that children being transported in vehicles in school
service must meet several federal safety standards. Hence
the term non-conforming. Automobile manufacturers and
dealers are prohibited from selling these vans into school
Schools use vans to transport staff, teachers, and other
personnel around. While this is a perfectly legal use of these
vehicles, the dilemma arises if the same vehicle is used to
transport students. That is an illegal use of the van. The
issue has long been troubling for the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency charged
with enforcing school bus safety laws. For more than two
decades the agency has issued numerous warnings against
the use of non-conforming vans.
NHTSA reports that from 1993 through 1999, there were at
least 71 non-collision van rollovers, causing 126 fatalities.
Those accidents included passenger and cargo vans.
In mid 1997, after decades of inaction, the agency initiated
legal proceedings against six automobile dealers it alleges
knowingly violated the law by selling vans to school clients,
for student transportation use.
In the late 1990s, a $1 million out-of-court settlement was
reached in a case involving a non-conforming van in
Columbia, South Carolina. There, six-year-old Jacob
Strebler was killed when the non-conforming van in which
he was being transported on an activity trip was struck
broadside by a truck. The settlement went against the car
dealership that sold the van to the private school Jacob was
attending, and the private school Jacob was attending."
[This article lists the following 15-passenger vans as non-conforming:
Chevy Express, Ford Econoline, Ford Club Wagon, Dodge Ram Wagon and
Van, GMC Savana and Rally/Vandura.] "Source: STNonline.com.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All
School Bus Recalls
Recall OOV-360 involves Thomas Conventional and Vista
school buses manufactured from 1977 through 2000 with a
storage compartment overhead to the left of the driver's seat.
These units fail to meet FMVSS No. 222, School Bus
Passenger Seating and Crash Protection". Customers
involved will be notified directly by Thomas. Customers can
contact their dealers to arrange for repairs to be made.
PROMPTLY RETURN TRAINING VIDEOS
April 25, 2002 Second Semester TR-5's and TR-6's mailed
from the OPI to districts
May 10, 2002 Second Semester TR-5's and TR-6's due from
districts to county superintendent
May 24, 2002 Second Semester TR-5's and TR-6's due from
county superintendents to the OPI
May 25, 2002 TR-13's (Bus Inspection Form) mailed to
June 19, 20, 21, 2002 MAPT Conference m Belgrade,
June 25, 2002 Second Semester Transportation payment sent
Update driver certificates, bus inspection forms, route
information and contracts regularly.
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