The Beaufort County Board of Education voted on Friday afternoon to end the District’s relationship with a private-sector transportation provider, Durham School Services, and to have the District take over supervision of bus operations beginning on July 1.
Durham School Services provided 41 school buses to the district; the other 149 of the 190 bus fleet are provided by the State. Those 41 buses were part of newest buses in the District’s fleet, whose ages averaged about four years.
Superintendent Jeff Moss told Board members that he was confident that the District would provide improved bus service for students and families, and at a lower cost. Durham School Services’ bid to extend its contract for 2016-17 was $6.5 million, a $900,000 increase over 2015-16’s contract.
Moss said that planning to move toward district-supervised school bus operations would begin immediately.
Nearly 12,000 students ride buses to or from Beaufort County public schools each day, with buses traveling more than 11,000 miles daily.
Moss said that district Chief Auxiliary Services Officer Gregory McCord would meet with Durham employees and brief them on the school district’s plans. Current Durham drivers would be able to apply for driving positions with the district, he said.
The Superintendent added that the school district would lease an undetermined number of buses to supplement those provided by the state, which are not numerous enough to provide the levels of service that parents want.
Durham drivers who choose to apply for school district jobs can no longer be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters because public employees in South Carolina are prohibited from joining unions.