Scrimp on school-bus safety to save Columbus schools $6M?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Instead, the $12.8 million that could have been saved by charging for charter-school busing was replaced by a proposal to lobby the state to relax Ohio’s tough school-bus safety regulations — such as requiring higher seat backs, two roof-escape hatches, side-mounted stop signs and other safety features.

“Tight Ohio school-bus regulations lead to fewer national school-bus contractors able to compete for contracts, leading to higher costs,” the revised report said.

Eric Fingerhut, an education adviser to Coleman who heads the mayor’s education commission, said that many are “deeply skeptical” that Ohio buses are safer than those of other states.

Fingerhut asked to see the data that would compare student fatalities from school-bus crashes. He expressed dismay that district officials seemed reluctant to alter the bus standards, which the report said could save up to $6.1 million a year.

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