Kids ride filthy, broken privatized buses

One of the provisions contained in the state budget (HB153) that has gone mostly unremarked was the privatization of some education support services, such as transportation

Privatization of School District Transportation Services

Permits non-Civil Service school districts (local, exempted and some city) to terminate transportation employees for reasons of economy and efficiency and contract with an independent agent if various conditions are satisfied, including that any CBA covering employees to be terminated has expired or will expire within 60 days. The independent agent is required to consider hiring terminated employees for similar positions. In addition, the independent agent is required to recognize any employee organization, for the purposes of collective bargaining, that represented employees at the time of termination.

It's supposed to save money, mostly by firing bus drivers and then re-hiring them at lower wages and with poorer benefits.

But that isn't the only corner cutting private school busing companies appear to want to engage in.

The Columbus school district’s private bus contractor, First Student Inc., was forced to park six of its buses last week after surprise inspections found loose seats, holes in the floor and other safety issues.

The State Highway Patrol, which inspects school buses, found unsafe conditions on eight of the nine buses it checked on Jan. 18 and 19. All eight were declared unfit to drive, although two of them were repaired right away and cleared for use.

The inspection of the busses happened quite by accident, due to one bus running a red light, but when the inspectors looked at all the buses what they found was quite shocking

Inspectors noted that some of the nine buses they checked didn’t have working windshield wipers. Others had inoperative taillights, brake lights, horns and warning buzzers. Rust had eaten away at the back of one bus, leaving sharp edges and a hole where air could flow in.

Several buses were dinged for being “filthy,” with trash strewn throughout the bus and on the floor, a hazard for students as they walk the aisles.

The rest of the article details other problems with this private bus company, including it being on probation 2 previous years. This is just another dimension to the privatization of public education tax dollars under the banner of corporate education reform. $14.2 million a year for kids to ride in filthy, broken buses.