Proposed change will reduce safety

It has just come to my attention that the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has made this proposal: apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/laws/wsr/2014/15/14-15-087.htm

“Purpose of the proposal and its anticipated effects, including any changes in existing rules: This proposed change would allow school districts to purchase and operate a multifunction school activity bus (MFSAB) for the nonhome-to-school transportation of students.

“Reasons supporting proposal: This proposed change would allow districts to purchase an MFSAB. This vehicle would allow a non-CDL driver to transport up to fourteen passengers, instead of the current nine passengers. Safety is not reduced as these vehicles will meet school bus construction standards and will be required to have lap-shoulder belts. This change will provide additional flexibility for districts while reducing costs. These vehicles are not included in the school bus depreciation system.”

I am extremely opposed to this proposal. The statement that “safety is not reduced” conflicts with the OPSI’s recent increase in standards applied to CDL-school bus drivers. Those standards were increased this last spring for the purpose of increasing safety as well as reducing liability for the districts (and by extension, for the taxpayers). In that perspective, this proposal seems quite illogical, yet it is going to a hearing on Aug. 26. I encourage all citizens to get involved in expressing their opinion of the matter.

Victoria Purnell

Mukilteo School District

Everett