Charleston County School Board commits to improving buses

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Parents, bus drivers, teachers, students and community leaders all aired their feelings of frustration and urgency at Monday's school board meeting.

"You got roaches. You heard about the bumble bees. I have a Durham school bus. I take it to trade off with another driver for the same bus," said one driver who said he'd been working for Durham for seven years."There's cuss words usually written on them and holes in the chairs," one student said."The parents need consistency. I need consistency. I can't effectively teach them if I don't know when they're going to be in school," a Burke Middle-High School teacher told the board.

After hearing from 45 speakers, the board voted to form a committee charged with investigating an old problem: the district's aging bus fleet. The fleet consists of both state-owned and Durham School Services buses. The committee will be made up of three school board members and two Charleston County School District employees.

"It has been too long. It should be a number one priority: transportation and safety of our students from school," board member Elizabeth Moffly said.

Felicia Anderson has grandchildren who ride CCSD buses. She has been driving a Durham bus for 20 years. She said she was pleased the board listened.

"This is progress. We're moving along. That's what counts. They're hearing us now and they're making an effort to try to help us now and help our children," Anderson said.

She said she and her fellow teamsters didn't want to strike because they want to keep kids in school, rather than leave them on the streets.

The district has a transportation budget of about $12 million, Moffly said. She said the committee would study how much it could cost to replace buses.

Durham School Services said the reported issues are not a problem on its buses. It said the issues only existed on state-owned buses.