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Poland transportation department continues to focus on safety with 2 new buses

Two new Poland school buses


Two new school buses with enhanced safety features, that Poland Central School District voters approved in May during the budget vote, will be operational starting with the 2023-24 school year.


Each bus holds 65 passengers and were purchased for a total of $329,780 to replace aging buses.


Each new bus has a backup camera to watch for people and objects directly behind the bus when driving the bus in reverse. In addition to backing out of a garage or parking spot, all routes have turnarounds where the cameras will be used.


When activated, the camera image is displayed in a portion of the rearview mirror.


Transportation director Eric Taylor said drivers have used and will continue to use mirrors first and the new cameras will only increase safety.


Backup camera visible in mirror

Backup camera on back of bus

Caption: The backup camera image in the rearview mirror (top) and a look at the camera on the back of the bus (bottom)



PCS has 20 vehicles in the transportation department. The new buses will be numbers 153 and 154.


The new buses will also have lighted stop signs, reflective strips and new block lettering of the district name – all for better visibility.



Stop sign on bus

Side of new Poland bus

Caption: The new stop signs (top) and a look at the side of the bus (bottom)  



A new light inside the bus is also part of the safety features. There is a red light above the driver, which increases the visibility of the driver to crossing students when stopped and decreases the brightness for the driver.



Light inside bus near driver

Caption: The new light inside the bus near the driver.



No bus will be on the road without passing a New York State Department of Transportation inspection, which takes place every six months. School districts must have a minimum rating of 90%. The Poland Central School District’s rating is more than 94%.


After the district receives the buses from the dealer, in addition to a state inspection, the district’s bus mechanic Larry Shepard inspects the buses and notes any defects to the dealer so they can be fixed.


On the back and front of the buses, the words “school bus” are also more visible thanks to increased lighting.



Back of Poland school bus

Back of new Poland school bus

Caption: A wide view of the back of the bus (top) and a closer view (bottom).



The Poland Central School district is one of the largest school districts in the state in terms of square miles, covering more than 477 square miles


With so much ground to cover, the wear and tear can take a toll on the buses. The PCS transportation staff keep a rigorous maintenance schedule to keep the vehicles in working order based on miles and days in service.


The smaller vans are on a seven-year replacement plan and the full-size buses are on a 10-year replacement plan. In addition to keeping students safe, this helps keep maintenance costs low.


PCS has 16 drivers to drive students to and from school, athletic events and field trips. There are more vehicles than drivers to make sure there are always spare vehicles available if needed.


Over the summer, the buses are also regularly driven on shorter routes to make sure the buses remain in the best shape they can be.


“The PCS transportation staff is committed to the safety of our students. They take great pride in their work because they know it is important. They care about students, and I am appreciative of everything they do,” said Poland Central School District Superintendent Laura Dutton.  “I also thank our voters for approving the budget so the district could purchase the buses.”


“Our staff are usually the first and last interactions most of our students have with the district every school day. We want to make sure the students, drivers and staff are confident in their safety when they are aboard one of our buses., “said Transportation Director Eric Taylor.


National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 16-20, 2023.  It is a week that brings more awareness of the importance of school bus safety for everyone.

Information about the transportation office can be found on the district website.


Information about applying to be a substitute driver is also posted on the district website.


There will be bus evacuation drills for students at three points during the 2023-24 school year:

Sept. 13 and 14

Nov. 29 and 30

March 20 and 21


The PCS transportation staff includes:


Cindy Appel, driver

Pauline Claflin, driver

Mark Crossman, driver

Candice Davis, monitor

Heidi Fenton, driver

Cary Hines, driver

April Hubbard, driver

Marc LaSalle, monitor

Sandra LaSalle, driver

Gerard Lindsay, monitor

Douglas Medley, driver

Connie Rachon, driver

Diane Rowlands, driver

Larry Shepard, mechanic

Robin Tabor, driver

Eric Taylor, director

Patricia Walker-Kolb, driver