School board member hopes SCS charter bus investigation brings answers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County School board members are hoping to learn more about the charter bus that caught fire last week, while full of Central High School students. No one was injured, but the fire sparked concerns about how the district screens the bus companies that carry students.

"Now is our chance to fix it, be held accountable and show the public we've done the right thing," District One School Board member Chris Caldwell said.

Caldwell said he was disappointed by the latest bus blunder this school year. A Jefferson Travel and Tours bus caught fire while carrying Central High School students last Tuesday on southbound I-55.

The company didn't have the proper permits to be operating in Memphis.

"Everybody that the district does business with should be licensed to do business," Caldwell said.

Since WREG informed the school the company didn't have the proper permits, the district suspended all charter bus contracts and said they are looking into what happened.

Caldwell said he has had some communication with Superintendent Dorsey Hopson, and commended him for quickly suspending the contracts.

"We've contained the situation, made sure the kids are safe and we'll move to correct the process for what happened in the first place," he said.

Caldwell said investigations take time and they want to make sure the problem is fixed so it doesn't happen again.

He hopes to have some answers at Tuesday's school board meeting or in the coming week as to how this happened, saying it's important to be transparent.

"I think the most important thing is to do a thorough investigation to look at all aspects of what happened and how this happened and then have a comprehensive plan to make sure it never happens again," he said.

Hopson was not available for an interview on Monday. A spokesperson with the school district said his department spent part of the day in meetings to discuss how to handle this problem.

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