Leander ISD, Texas school districts consider how to address new state bus law

Leander ISD, Texas school districts consider how to address new state bus lawStarting this fall, Leander ISD and school districts across the state will have to comply with a new Texas law regarding seat belts on new school buses.


Gov. Greg Abbott signed State Senate Bill 693 into law June 15, requiring  any new school buses purchased by school districts to include seat belts for each passenger.


The law goes into effect Sept. 1. Six states, including Texas, require seat belts on school buses.


At LISD, the change in the law could affect the next round of bus purchases. Corey Ryan, a spokesperson for the school district, said LISD has 237 buses. The school board is considering a $454 million bond package, which voters could decide on in November that would include $10.2 million to purchase 88 buses.


“Under the new law, the 88 [school buses] all include seat belts,” Ryan said.


The law requires three-point seat belts, which include lap and shoulder straps, for each passenger. The requirement only applies to school buses purchased that are model year 2018 or later, so buses already in service will not have to be retrofitted with belts. Also, districts will not have to order new buses with seat belts if the district is not able to allocate the funds in the budget and if the school board approves the decision.


Leander ISD, Texas school districts consider how to address new state bus lawThe Legislature passed similar legislation—known as Ashley and Alicia’s law—in 2007. The law was named after two students who died in a bus crash in Houston in 2006. The law required state reimbursement for the purchase of school buses with seat belts, but few districts applied for funding.


State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, authored the 2017 bill and said in a statement that the law will make an impact on child safety.


“Safety experts, EMS professionals and common sense tell us that children need to be buckled up,” she stated. “We’ve put this off for too long on our school buses. We need every Texas child to be safe on the way to and from school.”


Supporters of the bill said it would help prevent fatalities and injuries from school bus crashes, citing student deaths on school buses in the past few years. In 2015 a Houston ISD school bus went over the side of an overpass in southeast Houston and fell, killing two students. Opponents argued that it would place an unfunded mandate on school districts.


Each year, districts across the state send accident reports to the Texas Education Agency. For the 2015-16 school year, LISD reported 37 accidents involving school buses. In those accidents, all buses had some passenger seats with lap belts. There were no injuries or fatalities.


Since fall 2011, the school district has reported 85 accidents involving school buses, in which there have been zero fatalities and three injuries. Out of all the accidents, 545 students were involved.



MOST RECENT

A mosquito trap tested positive for West Nile virus Nov. 29 in Leander. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander mosquito trap tests positive for West Nile virus

The positive trap was found near Devine Lake Park.

Crust Pizza Co. is opening soon in Montgomery and Willis. (Courtesy Crust Pizza Co.)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: 5 businesses coming to McKinney; Crust Pizza Co. to open two locations in Montgomery, Willis and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 30.

I Live Here I Give Here encourages individuals to donate to nonprofit organizations in their community. (Courtesy I Live Here I Give Here)
I Live Here I Give Here encourages Austinites to donate to local organizations Nov. 30

The nonprofit is encouraging the community to donate for Giving Tuesday on Nov. 30.

Leander-based nonprofit Imagine A Way funds early childhood therapy for children with autism. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Over 20 nonprofits in Leander, Cedar Park to donate to this Giving Tuesday

These 24 nonprofits are based in or serve the Cedar Park and Leander areas.

The median home price in the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto area has risen considerably since last October. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Home sales, costs in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto remain hotter than Greater Austin; Halal Guys opens in Pearland and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 29.

The Austin Trail of Lights will open nighly from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31. (Courtesy Trail of Lights Foundation)
PHOTOS: Austin Trail of Lights returns to Zilker Park this week

The traditional holiday light show is open from Nov. 28 through New Year's Eve.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

curry pizza house chicken tikka
Indian-fusion pizza restaurant opening in Cedar Park

Curry Pizza House's menu includes traditional and Indian-fusion pizzas such as chicken tikka, curry chicken masala and tandoori chicken pizzas.

The utility's board of directors will vote on the proposed changes at December's meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
PEC members ask board to not raise solar rates

The utility's board of directors will vote on the proposed changes at December's meeting.

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. (Courtesy KXAN)
State, local officials react to Texas governor, Samsung joint announcement

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant.