Out-of-service school buses are covered in snow Tuesday afternoon at the Auburn Bus Services Garage on Industry Avenue, off outer Minot Avenue in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Parents were asked to arrange transportation for students to and from school Wednesday and Thursday after school officials learned the district’s buses have not been properly inspected.

Officials were informed of the problem Tuesday after Maine State Police Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit staff visited the district’s bus garage.

Until proper inspections take place, we will not operate the buses,” Superintendent Cornelia Brown wrote in a letter to the school community. “As soon as this issue was brought to my attention, I took immediate action.”

School buses need to be inspected every 6 months, under Maine law. The Auburn school district hired Lance’s Auto And Truck Repair in Monmouth to certify their buses’ inspections beginning last July, she said in an interview.

“(The inspections) haven’t been completely done, but they represented that they were,” Brown said. “That is a problem.”

Allegiance Trucks in Auburn has agreed to inspect the buses Thursday, Brown said. She expects the buses will be back on the road Friday morning for school.


Brown confirmed that the decision to halt the district’s buses was hers, not Maine State Police.

“The safety of our students and staff simply cannot be compromised,” she wrote. 

Asked about the condition of the vehicles, Brown said most were purchased in the last several years. She said there are no known problems with the buses.

The only alternative to asking parents to transport their children would be remote instruction, according to Brown.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place right now,” Brown said. “We so value in-person instruction. This is coming on the heels of a snow day on Friday and a delayed opening (Tuesday) and we want kids in school.”

“The schools are wonderful about knowing their kids, knowing their families,” she added. “Because of all the bus challenges already this year, we have a pretty good communication network going that (if) families can’t get their children to school, then staff, we do have vans, we can send them out and pick them up.”

Still, if students are unable to make it to school, they will receive an excused absence, she wrote.

Brown added that the district will “probably” consider legal action against Lance’s Auto And Truck Repair.

The owner of Lance’s was not immediately available for a comment Tuesday night.

Buses are reflected in a puddle Tuesday afternoon at the Auburn Bus Services Garage on Industry Avenue, off outer Minot Avenue in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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