San Antonio/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 16, 2024
Hays CISD Votes to Buy New Buses with Seatbelts Following Fatal Crash in Bastrop CountySource: Unsplash/ Thomas Park

In the wake of a devastating school bus crash that claimed the lives of two individuals, Hays CISD has taken a major step toward improved safety measures. Trustees of the Hays Consolidated Independent School District have voted in unanimous agreement to purchase a fleet of school buses equipped with seatbelts, as reported by Fox San Antonio. This decision follows the March 22nd collision in Bastrop County involving an older bus model lacking seatbelts, leading to the tragic death of a 5-year-old student.

The board meeting, spanning nearly four hours, underscored the community's effort to avert future tragedies. "While we can't go back in time and undo what's been done, we can come together to make our community a safer place for our kids moving forward," Hays CISD parent Megan Owens stated, captured by Fox San Antonio. Despite the urgency, a challenge looms over the endeavor – it typically takes about 12 months after purchase for a bus to be delivered.

Hays CISD has disclosed on its website an ambitious objective to outfit 100% of its school buses with seatbelts, as quickly as possible. According to a post by, this comprehensive project demands an $8.9 million investment to fulfill the retrofitting and acquisition of new buses. However, with 86% of route buses — which also serve as the primary option for field trips — already featuring seatbelts and 21 new buses set to join the fleet within weeks, the district appears to be on a decisive path forward.

Despite solid plans to improve the district's fleet, bus drivers have expressed concerns about enforcement. "What is going to make them wear seatbelts?" posed district bus driver Niquelle Blakley, whose question points to a larger issue of compliance. As Fox San Antonio gathered, Blakley, along with fellow bus driver Kaitlyn Holden, are calling for a robust disciplinary plan to ensure students adhere to safety protocols.

Financing this extensive upgrade appears secure, as Hays CISD is set to utilize bonds, grants, and revenue from the town's growth. They are even considering advancing the purchase timeline of these critical safety features using surplus bond funds. Furthermore, a potential bond measure earmarking at least $3.6 million for new buses may go to voters in May 2025, according to

With the board's approval of the seatbelt plan, the district is set to confront the financial logistics and expedite the acquisition of buses that are meant to safeguard its students. As part of the push for safety, 2017 and 2016 buses are being targeted for retrofitting, a move that comes with a price tag of $468,000. While Hays CISD did not participate in the School Bus Seat Belt Grant Program back in 2009, which could have provided a portion of the necessary funds, current initiatives indicate a strong commitment to not let financial barriers interfere with student safety.