News 2 Investigates: Late school buses in Charleston County

Viewers tell us all the time that Charleston County school buses routinely run late.  The district says it doesn’t track the problem but we found out the district has fined the company that runs those buses nearly $100,000 dollars.

News 2’s Brad Franko went looking for answers, about the quality of service CCSD gets for the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars it spent on the bus contract.

Since the beginning of the school year News 2 been trying to get information from the Charleston County School District about late buses.  Parents email, and send us messages on social media regularly complaining about it but answers, and explanations about what we found are hard to come by.

We took a closer look and found the number of late buses isn’t even tracked, according to the District Transportation Director, Curtis Norman, “Late bus reports are not available.  State buses do not have GPS on them, so there is not scientific method to obtain the information. Schools are not mandated to log the information.”

However, a former board member tells News 2 that the district actually collects big money from Durham when buses are late so there has to be some sort of accounting of late buses.  Armed with this information, News 2 went back to the district to get the total amount of money refunded by Durham for the last two school years.  Our discovery, just shy of $100,000 in credits and nearly 600 late bus reports.

Norman then modified his response in yet another email saying late buses are reported by the schools that, “Can keep a bus log or just send an email” or parents can report it.

Unable to get a straight answer from the district, News 2 went to board member Michael Miller.  The data the district gave us doesn’t sit well with Miller.  It doesn’t explain why buses are late just notes the amount credited and gives “late bus” as the reason.  According to Norman we can rule out a state bus breaking down, a bus breaking down en route, exceptionally heavy traffic, or a police road block, Durham gets a pass on those.

Miller says he is going to re-convene the ad-hoc transportation committee that he chairs to remedy some of the problems we brought to his attention.

News 2 has repeatedly tried to get an on-camera interview with either Norman or someone at the district, but so far that has not happened. News 2 also reached out to Durham for a comment, but they told me, despite receiving 10’s of millions of taxpayer dollars they don’t comment on things like this.

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