KANSAS CITY, Ks. — It's a sure sign the school year is about to begin.
Each year, Kansas State troopers converge on the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools garage, conducting inspections on the 190 school buses that will transport area students.
They're said to be the safest automobiles on the road. That's what one Kansas State trooper told FOX 4 News on Thursday night. KCK school district leaders say buses have to pass a strict examination before they're allowed to begin the school year.
Just as teachers test their students, school district leaders put their fleet of buses under the microscope each July, using the guidance of state troopers as inspectors.
"Every single bus has to pass before it can transport students in that coming school year," Miguel Martin, KCK Schools Assistant Director of Transportation, said.
Martin manages one of the state's only district-owned bus collections each day. His big yellow sleds run three thousand routes daily, during both mornings and evenings. Martin says during these inspections, troopers will flunk a bus' inspection for the least little thing.
"It's a process we do not take lightly," Martin said. "We know we transport the most precious cargo there is and having the largest district-owned fleet in the state of Kansas, we take pride in the fleet that we have."
If a bus doesn't pass inspection, it's back to the garage until it's ready for the road.
"We check it top to bottom, front to back," Kansas State Trooper Nick Wright said, adding that troopers check everything from lights and engines to the very seats that hold 50 kids in each loaded bus.
"We have to make sure these things are good-to-go," Trooper Wright said. "Every school bus in the state—whether it's here, Liberal, Hays, wherever—it's going to get checked before it can haul kids this school year."
KCK Schools drivers are also required to conduct a daily inspection on each bus. The school district's calendar says school begins on Monday, August 10th.