The Canal Winchester Times

District forced to borrow vehicles

Nearly one-third of Canal Winchester's school buses failed state inspection

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Some Canal Winchester students started the school year riding borrowed buses because nearly a third of the district's bus fleet failed a routine inspection.

Superintendent Jim Sotlar said district officials were to meet with the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Monday, Aug. 18 -- the scheduled first day of class for the 2014-15 school year -- to discuss a plan to get the vehicles back on the road.

"So far, there are no major problems with the buses and all of them will eventually be back on the road," Sotlar said. "The repairs being made to our buses will meet the higher standards being requested by the Ohio State Highway Patrol inspection staff."

The state patrol pulled 15 of the district's 48 buses out of service on Friday, Aug. 15, because they did not pass inspection.

According to information from the district, eight of the borrowed buses are from the Westerville school district and seven are from South-Western City Schools. Each bus will have a Canal Winchester Schools sign in the window along with the bus number that was assigned to each student rider.

Lt. Douglas DeBord, with the highway patrol's Office of Field Operations, Licensing and Commercial Standards, said for some of the district's buses, this was a second inspection, or a re-inspection. He said various issues led to the decision to keep the vehicles out of service, including broken lights and rust on the undercarriage.

Sotlar noted that over the past two years, Canal Winchester school buses had a 100-percent inspection passage rate.

Once repairs are made, the buses will be inspected again to determine if they meet requirements. In the meantime, Canal Winchester drivers will continue to use the borrowed school buses.

WBNS-10TV contributed to this story.

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