Parents Relieved by Board's Laidlaw Decision - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/06/06

Parents Relieved by Board's Laidlaw Decision

At bus stops all around Chatham County this morning, parents waited for Laidlaw to pick up their kids, but they are a little happier knowing the bus company won't be transporting their kids next school year.

"I'm not sorry to see them go," said Martina Correia. She says dealing with Laidlaw has been terrible. "It's very disheartening to get home from work at five or six o'clock and you don't know where your child is."

Correia says sometimes her children get picked up 30 to 40 minutes late in the morning, making them late for school. She also says buses don't get children home on time, and at least three times a week her son's bus breaks down.

"I would stop where I was, if I was in a meeting or home, I would drive to odd places and pick up my son and other kids on the road and bring them home," she told us.

A least a dozen kids we talked with say Laidlaw always picks them up late or doesn't even show up. And like Martina Correia, their parents are fed up and are glad the school board told Laidlaw to hit the road.

"I'm glad they did it," said parent Veleada Kinard. "It should have been done a long time ago."

Needless to say, Laidlaw is disappointed about the board's decision. "Our position is to step back, take a look at what the board's done, look at the contract, look at what they have said is the reason for what they've done and the action they've taken," said David Johnson, an attorney for the company, adding they'd then evaluate their options.

The school board has to come up with a new bus service by next school year. In the meantime, parents say they will just the make the best of a bad situation.

In addition to just ending the Laidlaw contract, the school board is also fining the company $51,000 because Laidlaw didn't live up to the terms. That contract officially ends at the end of the school year.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

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