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School buses may have fenced home soon

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Vandalism to vehicles is a growing concern for district and drivers

By Mallory Bilger

Spencer County School District officials are considering fencing in a bus storage lot at the intersection of Main Cross and Back Alley that has been a point of concern for bus drivers and Spencer County Board of Education members.

At the November board meeting, member Sandy Clevenger discussed that several drivers approached her with issues relating to bus vandalism and safety, noting parked buses could not be locked and were subject to any pedestrians or vandals passing by the lot.

Although the lot is not designated for public use, the buses sit in a poorly lit area often assumed as public parking for surrounding city and county government buildings. Drivers usually board their buses in the morning before daylight.
At the December board meeting, Superintendent Chuck Adams presented a preliminary plan for fencing the lot that Director of Operations Brett Beaverson and Manager of Transportation Jack Senior formulated.

The plan includes an 8-foot tall chain link fence surrounding the perimeter and two 15-foot wide gates, one which would serve as an entrance and one as an exit for buses.

According to the plan, the fence would be galvanized metal with double-stranded barbed wire around the top. The plan would allow for the buses to be stored in a secure area that, by law, could be locked.

The discussions also included the possibility of expanding the rear area of the lot, making additional space for bus parking. Beaverson told the board that approximately 13 to 15 buses use the lot on a regular basis, but more parking is available.

Adams said the the fencing with the gates would be approximately $15,000, but no other cost estimates had been obtained.

Although the plan would probably be somewhat costly, it is much cheeper than building a bus compound. Board member Shannon Medley said the issues with driver safety need to be addressed.

“We have to look at the safety part, too,” she said.

Senior said in a previous interview that during his 10 years as a district employee, he is aware of between $2,000 and $3,000 of repairs that have been made to buses due to vandalism.

Taylorsville Police Chief Toby Lewis said he was unaware of any official vandalism reports involving buses. Senior said most vandalism reports included stolen license plates, broken mirrors and windows and torn seats.

Board member Scott Travis said he wasn’t sure how local government entities would react if the plan to fence the lot moved forward.

“I really feel like we’ll get some opposition from the city and the court system,” he said.

Currently, the district does not have a bus compound like many other school districts. Many drivers park their buses at their homes and some are left in school parking lots.

However, Adams prefers that buses be parked at homes or in the district’s bus lot because he said they are more subject to vandalism while sitting in school parking lots.