What Kind Of Tires Should Be Used On School Buses?

September 8, 2006
Reported by Vince Atkinson

What kind of tires should be used on school buses? It is not often that a debate is sparked over what kind of automobile tires should be purchased, but that is what happened at the Calcasieu Parish School Board meeting Tuesday night. The tires in question are not just any tires and what will be riding on them is thought by many to be Southwest Louisiana's most valuable resource.

When a parent sends their child off to school on the bus, they expect them to be safe and for the most part they are. Now, a new cost saving idea in the Calcasieu Parish School System has brought that safety into question. But is there anything to be concerned about?

Calcasieu Parish School Board member Sheral LaVergne said, "I think we can save money elsewhere in the maintenance department, bus transportation without buying retread tires." The Calcasieu Parish School District is considering placing retread tires on the rear wheels of the bus fleet. According to the experts, state law allows this practice since there is believed to be no added safety concerns. The school system is only considering this practice as part of a pilot program that could save the school district between $90,000 and $100,000 a year.

Calcasieu Parish School Board member Clara Duhon said, "Putting our children's lives at risk, as minor as you say it is, I just can't support it." Some experts believe that retread tires are as safe, if not safer than new tires. Calcasieu Parish School Board member Mary Kaye Eason said, "If we do reach the point that we are satisfied that we are not compromising the safety of the children, then we have to turn our responsibility to the tax payers. We just don't turn down a $100,000 dollars a year savings."

After looking at the research regarding safety issues, school board members approved a pilot program that will allow 8 school buses in Calcasieu Parish to use retread tires, along with some of the heavy maintenance vehicles. If all goes well this is a practice that may be implemented for the entire school bus fleet.