(Memphis) A Shelby County School board member says the bus problems are all their fault.
Children have to walk miles to overcrowded buses, and after more than a week since school started, some buses are still not showing up.
School board member David Reaves said they wasted so much time trying to decide on a superintendent that they couldn’t get to a transportation plan until just a couple of months before school started.
“Many of the decisions that we made that took a while to make, I think, are actually showing up in the actual execution of the district right now…Everything that’s happening is a direct result of the incompetence of our board to get it done,” said Reaves.
Reaves said a federal judge’s decision to keep the school board so large during the merger slowed the planning process down.
“I don’t know if we could have handled it much differently given the fact we had 23 board members who all had their own idea of what we should be doing and we had multiple other entities in their ears as well,” said Reaves.
The school board asked county commissioners for an extra $145 million so they could keep all services, including bus routes, the same.
When the district didn’t get it, they cut to the bare bones and only got $20 million on top of their regular funding.
Commissioner Steve Mulroy said they may have cut too much and now we’re seeing the negative implications of that.
“We should have given them $30 million, and it was cheap of us to only give them $20 million, especially in a beginning year like this with the new system,” said Mulroy.
Reaves says it’s not as much about money as control.
“It is multiple people trying to run transportation. Multiple entities in the discussion and we need to let one person run the department and take care of it,” said Mulroy.
In addition to disorganization and power-grabbing, Reeves said the board still hasn’t established a long-term vision for the district and that’s apparent through short-sighted planning.
Reaves says he is not running for school board again next year.
Instead, he is running for county commission because he believes that could be the source of many solutions.