Conditions on Scott County's rural roads prompted North Scott Schools to remove their buses from the gravel roads and drive on hard-surface roads only, a school official said Friday. 

Superintendent Joe Stutting said the district's buses switched to hard-surface roads only beginning Thursday for what he estimated was the first time in a couple decades. 

Although Scott County had warned the district two months ago it might have to prohibit travel on the gravel roads, he said "the county didn't force us to go off (the gravel roads)."

Rather, Stutting said the district relied on "the best judgement of people who have been out there driving for years."

He added that bus drivers reported their buses were bottoming out and being pulled toward the ditches on some of the soft roads. "They also said it was taxing on the bus engines."   

To make the shift, he said staff began pre-planning a month ago and announced the contingency plan to parents.

"That takes awhile to plan," he said. "We had to look at every kid and every place (they are picked up) so we had new bus stops." 

Meanwhile, Pleasant Valley Schools Superintendent Jim Spelhaug said his district is evaluating switching its buses to hard surfaces only after the county sent an email Thursday recommending it follow North Scott. 

"We have not had time to do any analysis, but it's been started," he said Friday.

However, he said they have not heard any issues from their bus drivers having trouble on the roadways. "We're trying to balance how much of this is a concern over the school bus getting stuck or there being a safety vs. the wear and tear on the roads."

Spelhaug said pulling the buses from the gravel roads would be the district's decision and not its bus provider, Durham School Services.

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