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Patrol announces annual school bus inspection results


For the 29th year in a row, the Willow Springs School District bus fleet passed the Missouri State Highway Patrol annual School Bus Safety Inspection with a 100% approval rating. The district is one of 11 area districts to do so, and one of three with a fleet of at least 20 buses.

“We are very proud of the district's Department of Transportation staff who work so diligently to safely transport our students,” said district Communications Director Jenny Hayward in an emailed statement.

The results of the annual statewide school bus inspection by the Motor Vehicle Inspection Division were recently announced by Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Eric T. Olson. The division inspected 11,360 school buses statewide, 88% of which were found with no defects noted.

During the annual inspection program, buses with no defective items are rated as "approved.”

Buses with at least one defective item, not considered an immediate danger, are rated as "defective.” Those buses may continue to transport students until the repair is made; districts are given 10 days from the time of inspection to make repairs before the patrol re-inspects.

Those buses with a defect serious enough to be considered an immediate danger are rated as "out-of-service” and removed from service. They must be repaired, reinspected and placed back into service by patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel before they can carry students again.

Buses not presented for re-inspection within the required 10-day period are reported to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Earning at least a 90% rating, with no buses removed from service, allows districts to display the patrol’s Total Fleet Excellence stickers on each of their buses.

Statewide 2021 annual school bus inspections resulted in 10,055 buses rated as approved, 895 buses rated defective and 410 buses rated out of service. Seven percent of the 410 buses decommissioned were in Howell and surrounding county districts.


Three fleets scored a less-than-50% rating, patrol records show. Of Ozark Action Head Start’s 16 buses, five were taken out of commission and another five found to have defects to repair, leaving the program with six approved buses. Last year, Ozark Action had 17 buses, four of which were retired due to dangerous defects and another eight required maintenance.

In Douglas County, Plainview School District repeated its 2023 results, having one bus in its fleet of three to repair and one bus to remove for dangerous defects. Ozark Horizon State School did not have any buses taken out of its fleet; however, the school scored a 20% approval rating due to needing repairs on four of its five buses. Last year, the school had four buses, two of which needed repairs.

Norwood School District in Wright County scored a 55.6% approval rating, with one of its fleet of nine buses needing repairs and three being retired as defective. In 2023, it had one of its 10 buses pulled from service and another six in need of maintenance. Ava School District in Douglas County lost nine of its 32 buses to dangerous defects and had repairs to make on five, giving it an approval rating of 56.2%.


Joining Willow Springs with perfect ratings and having at least 20 buses in operation are Mtn. View-Birch Tree, 21 buses, and Mtn. Grove, 27 buses. Willow Springs has 20 in its fleet. Mtn. Grove also earned a perfect score in 2023, and has since added two buses, as did Mtn. View-Birch Tree, which had two buses to repair in the last annual inspection.

Other districts earning perfect scores are Gainesville in Ozark County, 16; Cabool in Texas County, 15; Alton in Oregon County, 13; Winona in Shannon County, 12; Richards in West Plains, 10; Lutie in Ozark County, six; Glenwood in Howell County, six; Skyline School District in Wright County, six; and Skyview State School in Mtn. Grove, one bus. Of those, Gainesville, Cabool, Alton and Richards are repeating their performances from last year.

Summersville serving students in Howell, Shannon and Texas Counties, with a 90.9% approval rating for its fleet of 11; Fairview in Howell County, with 91.7% approval for its fleet of 12; West Plains, with 92% approval for its fleet of 25; Licking, Texas County, with 93.7% approval for its fleet of 17; and Houston, Texas County, with 93.7% approval for its fleet of 16 also earned the Total Fleet Excellence recognition and may display the sticker on their buses.

Statewide, a total of 262 Missouri school districts, area schools comprising about 4% of those districts, earned the Patrol’s Total Fleet Excellence Award for an approval rating of 90% or higher and no buses removed from service. During the 2024-2025 school year, 4,931 buses in these award-winning fleets statewide are eligible to display the Total Fleet Excellence sticker in the lower corner of the first window on the passenger-entry side of the bus.


In Howell County, Howell Valley School had one bus of its six to repair and none removed; last year, the district had to replace one of its six buses. Fairview had one bus of its 12 in need of maintenance, and of Junction Hill’s six buses, one was pulled from service. West Plains had two from its fleet of 25 to fix. The 2023 inspections resulted in Fairview losing one of its 13 buses and repairing another, Junction Hill repairing a bus and West Plains repairing one of its 27 buses.

Couch in Oregon County had two buses to fix and none removed from service from its fleet of four, and Thayer was required to make repairs to two of its fleet of 10 and had to retire another two. Oregon-Howell School District (Koshkonong) retired three of its nine buses and repaired one. Last year, Couch repaired a bus and removed another from its fleet of six, Thayer repaired four of its 10, and Koshkonong had a perfect score.

In Ozark County, Bakersfield Schools had a defective bus to repair out of its 10 total. Dora’s fleet of 12 had one bus pulled from service and another to repair. By comparison, Bakersfield last year was required to repair two of its 11 buses and Dora decommissioned two of its 14 and had repairs to make to another two.

Licking in Texas County had one bus of its 16 to replace, and Summersville lost one bus, leaving 10 buses with the patrol’s approval. In 2023, Lucking repaired one of its fleet of 17 and Summersville lost two of its fleet of 12, and was required to make repairs on three others.

Eminence School District in Shannon County had one bus to repair of its fleet of nine; last year, it had a bus removed from service and no repairs to make.

“Through the unified effort of Missouri State Highway Patrol personnel and pupil transportation professionals statewide, the successful inspection of 11,360 school buses occurred in accordance with Missouri revised state statutes,” said Olson. “The patrol, Missouri schools and private pupil transportation companies share the common goal of keeping our schoolchildren safe while they travel on school buses.”

Missouri school bus inspection results are a matter of public record. Individual school district results are available on the Motor Vehicle Inspection Division webpage at apps.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/DVSD/MVI/documents/2024AnnualSchoolBusInspectionResults.pdf.