Official: Broken buses cause of DeKalb student tardiness



DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A metro school district's top boss has pinpointed why so many students are late to school – broken buses.

DeKalb County Schools have 949 buses and as of Monday, 111 need to be repaired.

"I'm not surprised. I had heard at the middle school there had been a good number of buses that have come late to school. Children had been late to school. One child even missed being able to attend the chorus festival competition because his bus was late," said parent Kim Hepler.

DeKalb's new superintendent Michael Thurmond told Channel 2's Erica Byfield to help with the repair backlog, he is proposing an extra $250,000 in the 2014 budget for bus mechanics.

"It's a critical issue. I think we cut too deep and now we are retrenching. We have had some problems in maintaining our fleet and making on time pickup and deliveries of our students," he said.

A previous administration made the cuts in 2012 and approximately 15 people in the bus maintenance their jobs.

"By adding these maintenance workers, it's going to help the efficiency of our bus system," Thurmond said.

"We have been informed that there is a shortage of buses that is available, so bus drivers have to do double routes in order to get kids to school," Hepler said.

Thurmond's proposal would add four jobs and bring the total of bus mechanics to 23.

The DeKalb County School Board will vote on the budget in June.

"If the county can run more efficiently then I'm all for that," said parent Blake Beverly.

The money for the mechanics is coming from the district's projected $27 million surplus for the 2014 school year.

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