WSOCTV.com (Channel 9) out of Charlotte recently updated an investigative report on broken air-conditioners on many CMS buses and published a response to the situation from a state lawmaker.
A Channel 9 investigation into conditions on school buses is expanding after we first discovered Monday that 120 Charlotte-Mecklenburg School buses don’t have working air conditioning.
Several parents and bus drivers have contacted us with major concerns about the sweltering heat.
Anchor Allison Latos has been reaching out to every district across our viewing area and discovered that CMS is not alone.
Several other districts currently have buses without working A/C.
Air conditioning is now considered standard equipment in North Carolina and South Carolina, but
Lincoln County Associate Superintendent Aaron Allen said that money is a concern.
“We are sometimes forced to choose what can and cannot be repaired when facing issues with tires, transmissions, brakes, fuel, etc.,” Allen said.
Our investigations have gotten the attention of a local lawmaker.
“That’s a simple place to hide,” state Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, said. “’Oh, they don’t give us enough money, not my fault.’ It seems to me that we’ve got an accountability issue here.”
Horn is the chairman of the House Education Appropriations Committee.
He said he’s concerned about conditions on board school buses but he hopes districts will address maintenance without more government oversight.
“If not, someone is going to, I am sure, introduce a bill that will require some type of penalty for those school districts that don’t meet minimum maintenance standards on their buses,” Horn said.
Officials with South Carolina school districts said that their fleets are purchased, assigned and maintained by the state.
In North Carolina, individual school districts are responsible for their own buses.
The chairman of the House Education Appropriation Committee should know that his very cronies are holding the budget hostage, forcing local school systems to rely only on recurring funding at last year’s levels.
The “Education Legislator” should know that local LEA’s already have to fund several state mandates with local monies knowing full well that there may not be monies there to fulfill them all. Wasn’t it Horn who was calling for some sort of solution to the class size mandate bill because he knew that local LEA’s were having a hard time funding already state mandated measures?
Well done Rep. Craig Horn.
Automatically assuming that it is the fault of underfunded local school districts and not the fault of a North Carolina General Assembly that has never reached per pupil expenditures adjusted for inflation that we spent before the Great Recession does not make Craig Horn the “Education Legislator.”
It makes him complicit.
Maybe some of the cold responses Horn and others in the NCGA give to educational matters could be bottled up and help keep the heat in school buses at bay.