Hillsborough paid school bus drivers not to drive - KMSP-TV

Hillsborough paid school bus drivers not to drive

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  • Superintendent: New buses could take 6 to 8 months

    Superintendent: New buses could take 6 to 8 months

    Wednesday, May 14 2014 5:31 PM EDT2014-05-14 21:31:44 GMT

    The issue of Hillsborough County's aging bus fleet took center stage at a school board meeting Wednesday. Superintendent MaryEllen Elia presented a number of issues with the school transportation system, and made the need for nearly 350 new buses a top priority.

    The issue of Hillsborough County's aging bus fleet took center stage at a school board meeting Wednesday. Superintendent MaryEllen Elia presented a number of issues with the school transportation system, and made the need for nearly 350 new buses a top priority.

TAMPA (FOX 13) -

School bus drivers are paid to drive, but when the buses aren't working, drivers are paid to park themselves in a holding pattern.

That's what documents obtained by FOX 13 show was happening in Hillsborough County toward the end of the school year.

"When you have old buses, which we do, and a shortage of buses that causes problems in terms of buses breaking down, problems with mechanics too busy so they can't fix those buses that are broken down, so the shortage has this ripple effect, one of which is what you are describing," says Hillsborough County schools spokesperson Steve Hegarty.

He says the district had to make hard choices during the recession and there simply was not enough money to buy new buses, but the recent purchase of 100 new buses -- which will be delivered next year -- is a good start.

"We anticipate when we get some buses in that's going to fix a lot of the problems we're describing here," said Hegarty.

However, some critics told FOX 13 they believe the problems will likely persist next year.

"I've been down that road before," complained school board member April Griffin, who is critical of the superintendent on the busing issue.

Susan Valdes shared some of the same concerns.

"This go-around, I am not taking my eye off of this ball," she insisted.

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