School Bus Drivers Say Students Will Face Safety Risks With New Drivers

(Memphis) Shelby County Schools bus driver Roger Christopher says parents need to know exactly what they’re getting when the county hires an outside company to bus kids to and from school.

“We’ve had accidents and most of those aren’t coming from our drivers,” said Christopher.

He and a handful of other bus drivers spoke out at a community budget meeting Monday night where district budget staff broke down the money they need to save, and exactly how they’re going to do it.

The plan includes hiring private companies to pick up kids for school and selling all the current buses for a profit.

School board president Kevin Woods says no one wants to lay off bus drivers, but the private companies can do it much cheaper than the school district, “They’re responsible for benefits, retirements, all we want to do is make sure kids get to school safely.”

The bus drivers say they are educators too, and concerned about more than just getting kids to school but doing it safely and making sure they’re learning.

“We are the first thing those children see in the morning when they get on the bus and the last thing they see in the afternoon”, said one bus driver. “Sometimes those children don’t ever get a hug or a smile or a have a good day.”

6 comments

  • LaDarius

    Bus drivers claim they are educators? Cant remember one thing I learned from mine when I was a child, but I could name, and can remember EVERY teacher that taught me in school.

    @SMITH – I agree, cheaper is better – but I would try to negotiate with the current bus driving staff. I would propose pay-cuts or trimming benefits to the current bus staff. A key point not mentioned, is that these drivers know the routes, schools and communities in which they operate. How soon we forget – just this past year with our public school merger, this was the top story for our first week of school. The bus system was the main focus of problems during that initial stage.

    • Memphis

      I am a private owned business looking to transport locale scs kids for $80@hr…for inquires call 1-800-ac wharton

  • Parent

    Like janitoral staff, there will have to be drivers. Outside companies will hire those eligible(good driving records, no arrests,no drugs). The new campany may pay less but most of the current drivers will be offered jobs. Concerning problems from the start of this school year, EVERY school starts with bus problems. Yes there were a few more than usual this year but problems were made much larger by the media. At the same time where was the media when everything was fixed. Not one media outlet covered or praised the school system for fixing the problem.

  • Memphis

    I have a 98 chevy astorvan..For $80@hr i will gladly transport the entire SCS…for inquires call 1-800-AC WHARTON..or1-800-Toney

  • Claire H

    There are still problems with the bus service. The high school students only have one bus stop in a neighborhood. The students have to walk to the ONE bus stop in the neighborhood in the dark. Some of the students have a ten minute walk. This is bad service. This never happened when the county ran their own schools.

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