An independent study released Wednesday suggests that Knox County Schools operates "a fairly efficient" transportation system, but the lack of driver training has led to a "high incident of crashes" during the past five years.
The report, conducted by Missouri-based School Bus Consultants, was commissioned by KCS in the wake of a Dec. 2 deadly bus crash that killed two students and a teacher's aide.
Now Knox County Schools is looking to make some changes and responding to the report. Officials said the district is looking for more ways to get involved and hopes to do more supervision of the independent contractors that operate the buses.
"We've really relied on the school bus drivers primarily to provide that training, but what this report is telling us is that's not adequate,” said KCS Superintendent Jim McIntyre. “And that training by the contractors isn't enough and we have to do more.”
McIntyre says they're doing a lot of things right, running a cost-effective system with budget constraints, but they plan to invest in on-board cameras. KCS may even add oversight positions.
"We want to make sure our kids are getting to school safely and on time every single day,” he said.
But the day after the report was released, a Knox County bus was caught on camera hitting a mailbox. The driver, Scott Hurst, was suspended, pending an investigation. Police have also cited him for Failure to Exercise Due Care and Failure to Report an Accident.
"Obviously any time a school bus comes in contact with an object on the side of the road that's unacceptable and that's something that needs to be addressed, and it will be addressed," said McIntyre.