By Kyle Boaz
Parents in the Clopton and Louisiana school districts can breathe a little easier when dropping their kids off at the bus stop.
Both school districts had a perfect 10 out of 10 approval rating for their school bus fleet in the 2017 Annual School Bus Inspection results.
“Al Murry is one of a kind when it comes to managing a transportation fleet,” Louisiana Superintendent Dr. Todd Smith said.
“When the kids are on the bus it’s one of the times they’re not under our direct supervision and to know that part of our operation is secure and safe [is relieving].”
Achieving a perfect fleet score is nothing new for Murry.
“Over the 25 years I’ve been doing this I’ve probably gotten 12 to 15 perfect scores. It’s a lot of work,” he said.
The district has also received a Fleet Excellence Award 22 times under Murry’s supervision.
The Fleet Excellence Award is given for having a fleet reach 90 percent approval or higher.
“There’s well over 2,000 inspection points on a bus,” Murry said.
The Louisiana district is preparing for the eventual retirement of Murray sometime in the next few years.
“One of my big priorities is to keep a succession in place,” Smith said.
“We know he’s getting there [to retirement] somewhere in the next two to five years.”
One recent asset to Murry is Jason House.
“He’s gone through the last few inspections with me. He’s a real asset and learning what it takes to make it happen.”
The Clopton school district also hit a perfect approval rating under the direction of Alan Walker.
“I do [inspections] throughout the year. You want to do the work ahead of time and have the drivers let you know when there’s a problem,” Walker said.
“My first concern [and] the goal is always safety.”
Walker has been with the Clopton school district for 16 years in September.
In comparison to surrounding area schools, Elsberry scored a perfect 16 out of 16 on their fleet, Vandalia scored a 13 out of 16 (85 percent of the fleet) with one defective bus (6.3 percent) and two out of service (12.5 percent).
Bowling Green had the worst rating with 12 out of 23 buses passing inspection.
The district had 11 defective buses (47.8 percent) and no buses out of service.