Several CTX school districts are purchasing new school buses equipped with seat belts.
A Texas law that went into effect last September, required school districts to purchase new school buses with three-point seat belts unless their school board determines their budget doesn't allow it. School officials have to opt out of the law by voting during a public hearing.
Waco, Midway and Copperas Cove ISD decided to move ahead and purchase buses with the additional safety measure, which is more costly than a school bus without seatbelts.
"I know our superintendent Dr. Nelson and the school board made that decision on what's best for our kids and our school district," Assistant Superintendent of Operations Israel Carrera said.
Waco ISD purchased 16 buses equipped with seat belts last year. Connie Lozano, who drives one of the buses, checks the seat belts before she leaves the bus barn. She also ensures children are wearing the seat belts properly.
"As they are walking to the seat, I'm watching in the mirror to where they are going and making sure that they put their seat belt on and listening for that click," Lozano said.
According to Temple ISD Director of Communications Christian Hernandez, the school board decided to opt out of the law during a meeting on Monday. They decided to move with the purchase of three new school buses.
"Temple ISD at this time is not making any changes on seat belt school buses due to budgetary constraints," Hernandez said.
Even though the new buses won't be equipped with seat belts, Hernandez said students will still be safe.
"We already do a lot of things to make sure that kids are safe on school buses. Out of our 95 fleets, they don't include travel on the interstate, if they don't have to," Hernandez said.
Meanwhile, Waco ISD plans to purchase more school buses with seat belts this upcoming school year, which have also provided additional benefits.
Carrera said the school buses have also helped improve discipline and prevented students from standing up while the bus is in motion.
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