Maintenance issues blamed for school bus delays

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - DeKalb County parents say they sometimes have to wait an hour for their children's bus to arrive and to drop them off from school.

Channel 2's Craig Lucie checked out the problem and went to the district's fleet maintenance center, where more than 100 buses sit waiting for mechanics to fix them.

Bus drivers told Lucie that DeKalb County Schools recently laid off 15 mechanics, and now there are not enough of them to keep all the buses running.

One mechanic told Lucie there are only 13 people maintaining 920 buses.

"It's a very, very bad shortage of mechanics," said bus driver Valerie Brown, who has been picking up children for 25 years and said the broken down buses are creating a ripple effect for parents, teachers and students.

"The mechanics have been outsourced. They got rid of 15," said Brown.

Lucie went to one bus stop and waited with parents Tuesday afternoon. The bus showed up 23 minutes late. They told him that is actually early for them. One parent said she waited an hour the day before.

They said the mornings are the worst.

"Every morning she's late. The bus drivers are never on time. It's every morning so usually I just take her to school," said Nicole Thomas.

Bus driver Cathy Douglas said each morning some bus drivers have to quickly scramble to find one that works so they can get to their stop on time.

"We have a lot of major issues. You may leave your bus to be inspected and come back the next morning and its red-tagged, which means you can't drive that bus because there is a serious enough problem that needs to be taken care of," explained Douglas.

Lucie reached out to DeKalb County Schools Tuesday morning and as of late Tuesday evening, he hadn't heard back.



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