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Volpe's Views: Bus Driver Issues

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For 180 school days a year, parents put their children on school busses thinking that the driver of the bus has the proper paperwork in order to perform the task.

Not so, says Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene De Pasquale. The auditor general's recent audit of school districts across the Commonwealth uncovered ten bus drivers whose criminal convictions should have barred them from their jobs. One had a felony conviction.

Moreover, the audit revealed that of 1,323 drivers statewide reviewed, more than half -- 742 -- did not have the proper papers on file. Each driver is supposed to have six documents on file, according to DePasquale. All told, the audit found 58 violations in school districts in 28 counties.

DePasquale said the issue is confined to districts that use contractor bus services. The auditor general said districts are under the impression that the contractor is doing background checks. "That's their mistake," he said. According to DePasquale, it's the districts' responsibility to make sure the people driving these busses are allowed to do it. DePasquale said some districts have corrected the problems, but he does not have much legal recourse against ones that don 't. The state legislature should give him that recourse.

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