CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Durham School Services will be staying in business with Charleston County after the school board voted 9 to 1 to approve a five-year, $67 million contract.
"Our buses are frequently late dropping off the kids from school and picking them up," Joe Bowers, a member of the District One Charleston County Constituent School Board said.
"We deserve better," one speaker said. "You gave them another five years contract to torture us."
70 percent of the state's roughly 200 buses in Charleston County are past the state's 12 year or 200,000 mile standard of being replaced. To help fix that, Durham will provide 14 new ones next year.
"Until we have buses that are all within three to five years of the same age, it's not enough," Cindy Coats, the school board chairman said.
This Durham deal was the least expensive of three options that included First Student and Student Transportation, saving the board about $2 million dollars while including GPS devices for the buses.
"This is a good deal for the county," Coats said. "Increasing our buses immediately, increasing our staffing from this vendor immediately. We still need to work on getting more quality buses from the state."
The district agreed to the contract before the public comment section which Bowers says is a bad sign.
"There's a very big lack of accountability and transparency with the public and if they keep doing this, we're going to keep having the same problems," Bowers said.