The District is ready to regain control of its school bus fleet after 17 years under federal court supervision, a district court judge decided Thursday.

Petties v. D.C. was filed in 1995, after it was determined that the buses that transport special education students -- currently 3,500 students on 790 buses -- were not properly maintained or inspected.

In April, city officials said they had made significant improvements by replacing its fleet with new GPS-equipped vehicles and achieving a 95 percent on-time school arrival rate.

"The idea of feeling comfortable giving this back ... where these responsibilities belong is something I'm looking forward to," Judge Paul Friedman said.

Still, the decision has to survive a public comment period and a hearing.