Cushing ISD school buses face difficulties in triple-digit heat

Cushing ISD Superintendent Dr. Brandon Enos said their schoolbuses' AC units aren’t designed to compete against 100-degree heat.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 5:41 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2023 at 10:10 PM CDT
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CUSHING, Texas (KTRE) - The start of the school year means that many students will have to rely on a school bus to get them to and from school.

In Texas it is not required for school buses to have AC units, but at Cushing ISD, they do. Cushing ISD Superintendent Dr. Brandon Enos said the AC units aren’t designed to compete against 100-degree heat.

Cushing ISD bus driver Terry Pruitt said even she feels the heat.

“I however do get hot because I’ve got all the heat off the motor coming on me, plus the door opening and hot air coming in, and when you have to make several stops, when you stop, your airflow stops, even if the AC’s working,” said Pruitt

With Cushing ISD running a few 2006 to 2008 model buses, Enos said sometimes they face problems.

“We’ve had to make some rescues out there, we’ve had two or three stranded buses and so we have to constantly fix something on those buses, every week there’s always something that needs to be corrected,” said Enos.

Those fixes can include air conditioning.

“My rear AC works wonderfully, the front AC works but it does not cool, so we let all the windows down on the bus and we have fans going,” said Pruitt.

Enos said that Cushing ISD wants to make sure students and drivers stay cool.

“We don’t want them to just deal with it so what we’re doing is constantly checking the ACs, we’re listening to the driver. If the driver said ‘hey, my bus got hot a little bit today,’ then we’re taking care of it before it goes out. We’re trying to phase out the oldest vehicles we have, so that way we’re more ready for things like triple-digit heat,” said Enos.

Cushing ISD will receive two electric buses from the Environmental Protection Agency in exchange for their two oldest route buses. Those buses are expected to arrive this fall.