Macon Co. school buses under investigation

Posted by: Mario Hendricks - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Education released a report to showing serious problems with the system's buses.

The state inspected Macon County's 50 buses and found 23 of them have "Major mechanical deficiencies." The state says the problems could "potentially affect students safety."

In the report, the state says the percentage of major problems in Macon County's bus fleet jumped from 20 percent last year to 46 percent.

To put that in perspective, the state average for major bus problems is around 4 percent.

Here are just a few of the problems found:

  • Monthly inspections of buses were not performed as state law mandates
  • The system does not maintain adequate documentation of bus repairs and the state says no preventive maintenance is being done and most buses are in "Very poor condition"
  • The system's mechanics have limited ability to perform repairs and are outsourcing much of the work.
  • The report also says there is no system of accountability and that no one is responsible for ordering and receiving parts.
  • Communication between bus drivers and their supervisor is very limited.

All these problems had state Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton very concerned.

"We are talking serious mechanical deficiencies and that put children's lives at risk...And somebody will be held fully accountable for that. That is inexcusable in my opinion," stated Dr. Morton.

If it weren't for Montgomery County loaning out some of its busses, the Macon County School System could have been forced to shut down.

Macon County now has until October 1st to come up with an action plan. If it doesn't work, the state could take over the bus system.

State school officials say MacoN County's interim superintendent, Dr. Jacqueline Brooks is doing a good job and has already taken action to address many of the problems.

WSFA 12 News left a message at her office but we didn't hear back.

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