Report: Michigan school buses not being properly inspected

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SPRINGPORT, Mich. (WLNS) — We trust them with the safety of our children.

But how safe are school buses in Michigan?

A new report accuses Michigan State Police of not properly following up on bus inspections.

Inspectors are required to inspect all of Michigan’s 17,000 school buses every year.

A recent report from the Michigan Office of the Auditor General says MSP wasn’t following up with school districts to make sure problems were being fixed.

It claims only 30-40 percent of repairs were certified between 2013 and 2015.

“That was occurring because of a lack of resources, and a lack of staffing,” said Randy Coplin, Assistant Commander of MSP’s Commercial Enforcement Division.

Coplin says there are only four inspectors for all of Michigan’s school buses, and his department has seen its budget dramatically cut.

He believes the auditor general was misunderstanding how they were coding violations.

“We believe that the process was working correctly. We believe the inspections were safe,” Coplin said.

The Springport Public School District in Jackson County got a clean bill of health in their last inspection.

The district is more sympathetic to inspectors and says they’re doing the best they can.

“I think they’re very responsive to us. I think they are very thorough at what they do,” said Superintendent Randall Cook.

Other schools often bring their buses to Springport when they need to be re-inspected, so staff has seen this process firsthand.

“They’re paying attention,” Cook said.

Cook says it’s also up to districts to be proactive.

“The inspections happen annually, and we have kids on buses daily. So our job is to make sure buses are safe daily,” Cook said.

MSP says a lot of the issues brought up in the report have been solved with a new digital system.

“Our policies have changed, our documentation has changed,” Coplin said.

If you’d like to see the latest safety inspection of your child’s bus, use your smartphone and scan the QR code on the bus.

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