The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education discussed safety issues concerning student transportation and school related trips during its meeting Monday.
An administrative regulation on school related trips was reviewed by the KPBSD Board Policy Committee on July 1 and also during May and June work sessions.
The document states, “The Superintendent may authorize the transportation of students by private automobile for approved field trips and activities. Due to safety concerns, students may not be transported in a nine- to 15-passenger van for any reason. This includes vans that are privately owned or rented. Eight-passenger (or less) mini-vans are allowed. Whenever students are being transported in any motorized vehicle, E3541.1(b) School Driver Registration Form should be completed. Additionally, E3541.1(b) Private Vehicle Transportation Safety Check needs to be completed for student transport by ant privately owned vehicle.”
According to Dave Jones, assistant superintendent, the van regulation was modified to clarify to employees and the public that students shall not be transported in any nine- to 15-passenger vans due to safety concerns. Eight-passenger mini-vans are acceptable. Jones said there were a couple of requests this past school year to use the passenger vans and he said clarification was necessary.
“(The vans) are not built to bus standards,” he said. “They do not have rollover protection.”
Jones said the use of the vans has not been allowed in the district for several years.
“In the late 90s people started seeing single-car crashes with 15-passenger vans,” he said. “Fully loaded, there is three to four times the probability the vehicle will roll.”
Today, the school district does not own the vehicles or allow employees to rent them.
“We do not have any in our fleet,” he said. “It is still a vehicle that is not built to safety standards.”
The board approved the regulations that evening, along with three other regulation revisions including Special Services Grading, Student Records and School Sponsored Trips.
Sara J. Hardan can be reached at email@example.com.