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Roanoke City School Board ultimatum answered, Durham submits report on bus issue solutions

‘We are not going to leave our students in the lurch. We are going to make sure we fix it.'

ROANOKE, Va. – Patience is running out for parents and the Roanoke City School District over problems with its bus company, Durham School Services.

On Wednesday, school officials received a report from Durham they hope will resolve all the busing issues they’ve faced since the start of the school year.

For the last several months, bus route and staffing issues have left some students waiting out in the cold and late to class.

On Tuesday night, the tension came to a head at the school board meeting where board members demanded that Durham submit a report detailing concrete solutions within 24 hours, or else they’d have to consider firing the company.

A termination clause is included in the school district’s contract with Durham.

On Wednesday evening, the school district confirmed it received Durham’s report within the deadline. The district would not provide WSLS with the report, so 10 News has submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to obtain a copy.

Board member Laura Rottenborn told 10 News that the new report must address Durham’s staffing problems and include a plan for the company to retain and recruit more drivers.

Plus, the board wants an immediate fix for all the city’s bus routes.

“It needs to include a guarantee that Durham will be covering all bus routes on time and with full staffing. Any additional delay in ensuring full coverage for our students would be disappointing," Rottenborn told 10 News over the phone.

She added that if the report doesn’t address all the problems, the board will have to talk about next steps, which could include firing Durham.

“We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it. The board is certainly considering all options and will creatively address this problem. We are not going to leave our students in the lurch. We are going to make sure we fix it,” Rottenborn said.

However, Rottenborn said she hopes the school district and Durham can work together.

A Durham representative released a statement to 10 News that reads in part: “We will continue to work with them to ensure we have addressed all of their questions and concerns regarding the updated plan.”


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