Berkeley Co. parents concerned about no heat on school buses

Berkeley Co. parents concerned about no heat on school buses

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Some parents in Berkeley County are complaining their children's school buses don't have heat or working front doors.

"You just expect when you go to the bus stop in the morning, you put your children on the bus that you're going to have a good driver, a safe bus, they're going to get to school, and that's not the case," Gwen Hill, who has two children at Cainhoy Elementary School, said.

"I actually took my children, my neighbor's children and the lady at the head of the road's children to school this morning because none of us would put our children on the bus," Hill said.

A Berkeley County School District spokesman says the district worked on three Cainhoy buses for heat issues Wednesday.

"It's supposed to be 28 degrees tonight," Hill said. "I'm not putting my children on the bus like that."

The district says it didn't work on any buses for broken front doors but said the air-powered doors can stick in cold weather.

As an assistant fire chief, Hill is concerned about the doors being a hazard.

"What if you get in an accident and the door doesn't open," Hill said. "If you try to get out the front door, little children are not going to be able to fight that handle."

She said the most frustrating part is not getting answers.

"I did get in touch with a lady in Berkeley County with the school district," Hill said. "She told me I had to call the state. I call the state and the state tells me it's the legislative's problem. All they can tell me is that they still don't know when they're going to get the bus fixed."

According to the state, Berkeley County has 16 buses down for mechanical issues. The district said there's a statewide bus shortage making replacements hard to find.

"One of the buses they gave [the driver] to temporarily use and it didn't even have a horn," Hill said.

"Call the school and make sure that your bus has heat because they're not telling us," Hill said. "At least send a note, 'hey we have a bus shortage' or 'hey we're having problems'."

If you have questions or issues about your buses, Parents in the majority of Berkeley County can contact the SC Department of Education's bus shop in Moncks Corner at 843-761-8590 to discuss mechanical issues.

Parents in the Sangaree and Westview areas, College Park, Stratford High School and part of Cane Bay are serviced by the Summerville bus shop at 843-873-1007.

Parents in any state-serviced county can contact Tim Camp, the Director of Transportation for the Department of Education at 803-734-8248 or Mike Bullman, the Department of Education's Director of Maintenance at 803-734-8250.

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