It’s the first day of school for the Raytown Quality Schools District and that means its drivers are up early firing up the buses.
The school district does not hire a separate company to take kids to and from school -- instead the district owns its own buses.
“We can provide better service,” explained Kevin Easley, director of transportation. Easley said it’s a little easier to control if they house the drivers and buses.
Easley said out of 9,000 students in the district, they will be busing about 6,700 of them.
The district employs mechanics, manager, trainers and bus drivers in its transportation department.
Larry Nowicki is one of the drivers and he’s been working for the district for five years.
“Safety is the most important thing to our district. Children are our most precious cargo,” said Nowicki.
Nowicki explained there’s a checklist he and other drivers go through every morning to ensure the kids’ safety.
He said his favorite part of school is seeing kids smile. “You want to put them in a good mood and make sure they are ready to learn,” said Nowicki.
41 Action News spoke to several students who were all looking forward to the start of the year.
Senior Sydney Smith brought her softball bat to class, because she will be practicing after school. She’s excited to get in the classroom and see friends.
“I try to keep in touch over social media but it's better to just see them in person. So there are going to be a lot of hugs going around, and I think everyone will be happy,” explained Smith.
Eileen Slinker will be busy this year. She’s a senior at Raytown South High School and is both National Honor Society President and Student Council President. She’s involved in yearbook, swimming, debate and FCCLA.
“School spirit is something you miss out on over the summer,” said Slinker. She explained this will be the first time not attending school with her sister but says she is excited all the same on her final first day of high school.
Senior Tyree Sorrels is familiar with that feeling.
“I’m excited. It's my last first day of high school. But, I'm ready,” said Sorrels.
Sorrels said he is looking forward to seeing all his teachers and friends and to continue on with school athletics. Sorrels is a three sport athlete – football, track and basketball.
Other new changes happened over the summer.
The assistant superintendent said there were more than $8 million of renovations.
“We've done a lot of new things. Some of it is cosmetic like new paint and signs,” said Dr. Travis Hux. “We've also done system work like lighting, water and general bathroom upgrades.”
Hux said this was done throughout the district to give it a nice refreshing look.
“A lot of the buildings are from the 50s, so they needed to be refreshed,” said Hux.
The assistant superintendent also said the district is working on getting Wi-Fi access for the school buses.
Belinda Post can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.