ST. IGNATIUS -The wheels on the bus will keep going ‘round this year in St. Ignatius after a new bus company has stepped in to transport about 430 kids to school every day.
This year’s change came after the owner of the former bus company — who had been running the bus routes for about two decades — was accused of using drugs. Scott Johnson, who owned Johnson Transportation, is now facing charges for using meth in the school bus barn and on the buses.
The St. Ignatius School District chose a homegrown Mission Valley company to hand over the safety of their students — and are taking steps to make sure the kids are safe.
“We’ve got all of our drivers in the random drug testing pool like we’re required to do. And myself as the owner, I’m in the random drug testing pool also. We just want to assure the parents that we are going to take care of their kids and we’ll do a good job for them,” said Jeff Smyth, who owns Smyth Transportation.
Smyth Transportation has some history in the Mission Valley, but this is their first time contracting school buses. Smyth told MTN News he bought two new buses and are leasing seven right now as the school year kicks off.
But before the end of the year, Smyth says the kids will be traveling in a fresh fleet of buses, “we have seven brand new buses being built by Blue Bird and they’re expected to be here by the first of the year,” he said.
Smyth is also hoping to make this new step with St. Ignatius schools a long-term deal for the company.
“We’re local here from St. Ignatius, so we know a lot of the kids. And it’s neat to see people who I went to high school with bringing their kids to school now,” Smyth said. “It will be fun to watch them grow up in sports and they’ll turn into our future.”
School started earlier this week in St. Ignatius.
Story by Augusta McDonnell, MTN News