Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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School system unaware of who's driving buses

4 years 2 months 1 week ago March 13, 2013 Mar 13, 2013 Wednesday, March 13 2013 March 13, 2013 6:08 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Michael Shingleton

PORT ALLEN - West Baton Rouge School leaders have no record of who's driving the buses within the parish, leaving many parents concerned.

Superintendent David Corona said if he wanted or needed those records, they could be made available to him.

"I'm comfortable the organization we contract with [First Student] does a thorough screening of people before they are hired to transport kids," Corona said.

Since the beginning of the year, the school system has received up to ten complaints daily about bus drivers and First Student, the company outsourced to drive students. 

At the school board meeting Tuesday night, company officials explained to the board they've lost multiple drivers since January. Some quit, others took leave, and two were fired according to Corona.

Substitute drivers were brought in and most were unfamiliar with the routes which caused delays, leading to parents complaining.

News 2 asked First Student for a list of bus drivers operating within West Baton Rouge Parish to cross-reference those with individual driving records and criminal histories. That request was denied. The company said it isn't subject to public record law, even though it's funded by taxpayers through the school system.

In a statement to News 2, Maureen Richmond, Director of Media Relations for First Student said, "Each First Student driver must undergo a background check prior to employment. The company requires each prospective driver to pass federal, state and local checks, which include residency history, work and criminal histories."

First Student also said they check driving records before and during the employee's tenure with the company.

Corona hopes these recent personnel issues are resolved soon and relations can get "back to normal."

"We contract with a reputable employee, First Student, to provide quality transportation to our people. We're not getting that right now. We know why, and we're working to fix it," Corona said.

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