Austin/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 23, 2024
Hays CISD Invests $5.1 Million in Student Safety with New Buses and Seat Belts After Fatal AccidentSource: Unsplash/Austin Pacheco

In a decisive response to a tragic accident that left two dead, Hays CISD is steering significant funds towards bolstering the safety of school transport. The district has earmarked a hefty $4.7 million for the introduction of 30 new school buses, and an additional $400,000 will go towards retrofitting existing buses with seat belts, a feature that might have saved lives. This comes in the wake of a deadly collision last month involving a Hays CISD school bus in Bastrop County, Texas.

According to KVUE, the approved funding is a byproduct of the 2023 bond election. It prioritizes student safety, ensuring that all new buses are equipped with seat belts and all current fleet buses receive these life-preserving additions. The crash on March 22, which involved an older model bus lacking seat belts, prompted an outcry from the community, shifting the focus from other concerns like campus violence to the safety of the district's buses.

During a meeting punctuated by urgent necessity, the Hays CISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to implement the new safety measures. The unfortunate event thrust the need for such precautions into the limelight, as per CBS Austin, where Chiefs Communications Officer Tim Savoy reflected, "We've suffered a tragedy and a crisis. And we have people that are still reeling, they're still hurting from this, and they want to see action taking place. And we want to provide that action, if anything for peace of mind, but definitely for additional safety.”

Despite the community’s grief, the proactive steps taken by the Board offer solace and a promise of enhanced safety. By Wednesday, all regular route buses will have seat belts and even spare buses are slated to be equipped for emergency use. The move has been welcomed by parents, like Coach and parent Omar Vega, who expressed concern for their children’s safety. “I know if my kids are safe, I'm not worried about the money I spend as long as you know, he comes home,” Vega told CBS Austin.