Tops in transportation safety: Char-Em ISD lauded for transportation excellence with 100% bus fleet inspection rating

The certificate to Char-Em ISD Transportation Department from the Michigan State Police.

CHARLEVOIX – Michigan State Police inspectors meticulously review nearly 17,000 school buses around the state each year – one at a time – to ensure that children are being transported safely in vehicles that are well-maintained.

Safely transporting the children in its care is a responsibility that Char-Em ISD’s Transportation Department takes seriously – and it shows. The ISD has once again landed a 100% safety inspection rating from the MSP for this year’s inspection.

“The State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Commander stated some years ago that MSP was toughening up its already stringent standards even further, putting school districts on-notice that the awarding of these certificates could be rare,” said Phil Haldaman, the ISD’s Transportation Supervisor. “They are using the strictest of standards.”

Haldaman said his team works in concert with school bus drivers, mechanics at Northern Michigan Truck and Equipment Repair, and the inspectors to ensure compliance in all areas.

Char-Em ISD Superintendent Jeff Crouse praised the team’s focus on safety. “While we are incredibly proud of our record with annual MSP inspections – five straight years of 100% – bus safety is a daily effort for our 40 transporters,” Crouse said. “Planned preventative maintenance and daily inspections coordinated by Chip Coulston and Phil Haldaman are paramount to these perfect ratings with a fleet this size. We expect nothing less for the precious passengers we carry.”

Char-Em ISD’s Transportation Department covers a three-county geographic service area extending to the north from central Antrim County through Charlevoix and Emmet Counties to just south of the Mackinac Bridge, and from I-75 west to Lake Michigan – roughly 1,200 square miles. Each day, Char-Em transports about 125 special needs students to and from their homes to any of five different school sites via 24 buses. Those buses accumulate more than 600,000 miles per calendar year. The ISD’s Transportation Department is comprised of about 40 full- and part-time staff, in addition to administrative and routing support, and private sector mechanics – all of whom deserve credit, Haldaman noted, for another stellar inspection report.

“Receiving another 100% certificate never means that ‘we’ve arrived.’ Rather, it’s a reflection of the efforts of an entire team of people working together for a common goal: maintaining the safety of the fleet to the highest of standards, while continuing to work together to never let our guard down on fleet safety,” he said. “Our students, families and the public have a great team to be proud of in Char-Em ISD Transportation.”

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