School bus company, drivers' union square off at board meeting

Tensions continued at Monday's school board meeting between the union representing school bus drivers, the company that runs Charleston County school bus fleet, and speakers charging that buses are not clean and not run safely.

Hard feelings remain about the recent firing of a driver for texting and calling while operating a bus. And Durham School Services is suing the Teamsters Local 509 alleging unfair labor practices.

A bus driver and two state representatives were among a half dozen people who called on the county school board not to renew its contract with Durham. Driver Latrisha Pringle called the condition of buses a dangerous situation the drivers face every day.

"Either they get right or they get gone or come election, we need a new (school) board," said Rev. Thomas Dixon to loud applause. Reps. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston and Seth Whipper, D-Charleston also spoke.

"We share the concern about safety of the buses," said Ron Wilson, Durham regional manager. The company only owns and maintains one-third of the 364 buses in the district, he said. Buses are inspected daily and the entire fleet passed an inspection in December 2013.

Comments were made during the public comment session opening the meeting. The concerns were not on the formal agenda and the board took no action.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.

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