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With the start of a new school year coinciding with a steady heat wave, The Emporia Gazette has received some questions from concerned parents regarding temperature controls equipped in USD 253 school buses.

Community Relations Director Lyndel Landgren said the district has also been receiving calls from parents about the temperatures and said while they are aware the buses are uncomfortable both for students and drivers during extreme temperatures, the majority of the buses in Emporia’s fleet are not air conditioned.

“All of the route buses do not have air conditioning,” he said. “Our activity buses and some of our special needs buses do.”

Landgren said earlier this week that there are a number of ways the district is trying to “beat the heat.”

“Unfortunately, right now, it is just extremely hot and the safety of our students is of our utmost concern, so we want to make sure that they are safe and they’re healthy,” he said. “On our preschool buses, each of the preschool buses does carry a jug of water and they have dixie cups so they can give the students some water.”

Preschool buses also equip spray bottles filled with water to mist students who may need to cool off with some water on their arms and legs, too.

Older students riding buses to elementary schools and to Emporia Middle School and Emporia High School are welcome to bring drinks with them, and the district recommends bringing water to make sure they are well-hydrated.

“We also try to keep all of the windows open, so once the buses start moving it definitely helps, but when it’s such extreme heat conditions, it does definitely stay warm on there,” he said.

Landgren said the district also works hard to keep routes as short as possible by trying to keep students on buses for no more than an hour.

Parents with questions or concerns are invited to call the Community Relations office for more information at 341-2200.

(6) comments


Even with the windows open, the interior temperature of a vehicle can be 10 to 15 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature. Add into that the amount of body heat generated by the people inside the vehicle, and it may be as much as 15 to 20 degrees hotter. Are bus seats still black vinyl? If they are, I imagine that is also a factor in the “greenhouse effect” inside the bus. Many kids do not stay hydrated during the school day, and so will be at greater risk of suffering with the heat. Calling kids “wimps” about this is ridiculously discounting what is a real problem. How would you like to be in an unairconditioned vehicle for a hour, with nothing to drink and no way to get relief? The extra expense to air condition buses seems like a smart way to protect these kids, who have no alternative to riding in them.

Alphonse Sicard

People around here care about protecting kids up until it starts to cost extra. The whole "I had to do it this way so everyone else should too" mindset is getting real old and is incredibly selfish.


It is amazing to me just how wimpy & cushy many folks are anymore. I grew up on a farm in the late 40's & early 50's. We had no electricity, no refrigerator & obviously no air conditioning. In the summer we slept on the floor by the screen door, just in case there might be a little breeze. Then in the winter we huddled up by the wood stove, because only two rooms were heated. Though it was a bit rough, there were lessons I have never forgot.


Maybe stop moving the start of school up earlier and earlier? Or just tell these kids to stop being wimps.


I agree that moving school up is a major factor. A number of us didnt start school til just before labor day. And if there are parents out there that are unhappy then drive your kids to school, a very simple solution. Dress them lightly and provide cool drinks. Im sorry but spending money to put ac on buses when there are so many other needs is like forgiving student loans because you didnt realize the cost of paying them back.


Adding AC to local school buses would be an expense of the local school district. No school in the district requires you pay tuition. I suspect you are thinking of ESU which is a completely separate entity.

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