Superintendent: RPS looking to replace aging buses - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Superintendent: RPS looking to replace aging buses

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond Public Schools' superintendent is responding to a new audit, which details problems with the aging buses that take kids to and from school every day. Now, those students could be traveling on some brand new buses as soon as this fall.

Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says the problem of aging buses was on his radar before a recent audit was issued and he has a plan to deal with it.

Even elementary students see the need for a plan to address this problem. Shamaria Spence notices the aging Richmond buses she rides to and from G.H. Reid Elementary every day.

"It looks rusted old," she described. "It's rundown."

In the more experienced eyes of her grandmother, looks aren't the only concern about the district's 228 buses.

"It's coming late because there were problems with the buses that was picking them up late and then coming late in the evenings," Romonia Lewis said. "Sometimes we had no clue what time she was going to get home."

The ages of the buses range from one year to 23 years with the average being about twelve-and-a half-years old.

"That's a bit old," Lewis exclaimed. "A bus that old, I think, does need to be replaced because the kids should mean a little bit more than that."

Dr. Dana Bedden says the children do and he plans to present the school board with a proposal to get some new buses on the road.

"The challenge is we have so many of them, so it's going to take time," he explained. "We didn't get here overnight, but we're going to have a plan and it's a lot of money."

The first group should cost about $1 million, but Bedden can't say just yet exactly how many buses that would get RPS.

"That depends whether we buy or lease and that's a conversation that we're having," he added.

Bedden also says there will be discussion about possibly putting cameras both inside and outside the buses. He wants to make sure students are secure and possibly catch people who do not stop for the red crossing arms.

Before any of the buses can be replaced, the school board would have to approve both the plan and the finances.

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