Topeka Public Schools to address school bus contract during BOE meeting

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka Public Schools is expected to decide whether to renew its contract with Durham School Services during a Board of Education meeting Thursday.

The bus company was the subject of controversy last year after four bus crashes in two weeks. While there were 33 during the previous school year as a whole, the high number of crashes last October left some parents concerned for their children’s safety.

“I think I’m going to start having them stay with me and I’ll bring them back and forth to school,” said grandmother Marie Brumley back in October. “I don’t know who’s fault it was, but it just worries me because my grandkids could’ve gotten hurt.”

Durham told KSNT News that they gave their drivers a special intersection safety course after the first two wrecks in October.

At the time, Topeka Public Schools said they were “re-evaluating their relationship” with Durham and opening the door for other companies to take the wheel. While they were accepting bids, the district told KSNT back in October that Durham could still end up being the bus provider next year.

However, it wasn’t only bus crashes causing concerns for parents. In August, a Durham bus driver got lost while taking kids to the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe.

Three-year-old Brody Hunninghake was on the bus for six hours without food, water or a bathroom.

“The bus driver took the kids to the blind school and then got lost and couldn’t remember how to get to the deaf school,” said Brody’s mother Amanda.

The Board of Education open meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Burnett Administrative Center at 624 SW 24th Street in Topeka and is open to the public.

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