ASHLAND, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – North Schuylkill School District officials have made some reforms since a 2012 audit revealed that two of its 39 school bus drivers did not have the documents required by law to transport children. The district did not have a valid background check or child abuse clearance for one driver and an FBI fingerprint clearance for another.
“Since then, it’s given us an opportunity to strengthen our internal controls and procedures in which now we track the clearances we receive from our contracted bus carrier,” said District Business Manager Robert Amos.
The audit found school officials did not have a comprehensive list of bus drivers of their own and relied on the contractor to ensure drivers were qualified. Now officials keep control of documents and the school board approves all drivers.
According to a new report by the Auditor General’s office, since 2013, 58 school districts, including North Schuylkill, had drivers missing certifications or background checks. A new audit in the Lancaster School District released this week found five school bus drivers with criminal pasts that should have been banned from driving students.
Officials say they had convictions for assault, drug pushing and possession of firearms without a license. Since 2013, 10 drivers around the state should have been banned due to their criminal history. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says all drivers were immediately removed, but the throught that this could even happen is a concern to parents.
“Not checking into their background…It’s not safe for the kids,” said Parent Destiney Hayes.