MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Schools announced it would implement a new screening system for charter buses Tuesday night.
Previously, schools could choose their own charter bus vendors if the main or in-house carriers weren't available. If a charter company wanted to be a vendor, they would contact the district, and the district would check to make sure the company had the appropriate amount of insurance.
Schools would get a lower rate for bus services from these companies.
After Tuesday's decision, SCS vendors now have to complete an application.
"They have to provide proof of their current employee background checks. They have to provide the district with their insurance requirements on a yearly basis," said SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson. "They've got to be in good standing according to quarterly inspections by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration, and vendors must have a satisfactory rating based on their annual FMCSA safety review."
Though safer vendors may cost more money, Hopson said safety is the district's biggest priority.
Hopson added, "Help us make sure our processes are going to lead to extreme safety for our kids."
He said the new process does carry some consequences.
"One of the consequences of the screening process is that school may be hampered at times in their ability to, in some instances, use less expensive or quicker reacting vendors," Hopson explained.
He said the district worked closely with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to come up with a checks-and-balances system for all buses and drivers.