CHARLOTTE, N.C. — 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.
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“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.
Several other districts currently have buses without working A/C:
- Ashe: 9 without A/C. There are 42 regular route buses and seven spare buses.
- Caldwell: About 10 without A/C out of 110 buses.
- Chesterfield: 35 without A/C out of 90 buses.
- Iredell: About 40 without A/C out of 275 buses.
- Lancaster: 40 without A/C out of 78 buses.
- Lincoln: 13 work orders for A/C repair this year. Seven have been fixed. One was being repaired Wednesday. Another bus is scheduled to be repaired this week. There are 121 buses in the fleet.
Channel 9 is waiting on responses from other school districts on how many buses they have without A/C. Return to this story for updates.
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