Public transportation as an alternative way to get to school is up for debate
JEFFERSON CITY - A new bill on getting children to and from school has people arguing on whether puts children in danger or is a good solution to a long-standing program.
A public hearing on Senate Bill 838 featured arguments about letting schools use public transportation for its students in grades 9-12.
The public transportation would have monitors and a section specified for students.
Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, sponsored the bill.
"I had the Chamber of Commerce and the school district and the City of Columbia all come to me and offer this idea as a way to help them make sure we are getting our kids from point A to point B," Rowden said.
Under the bill, drivers employed by municipalities or any other entity under contract with a school district would undergo the same background check as school bus drivers.
Susan Henderson, representing the City of Columbia, said all of the stakeholders in Columbia have gotten behind this bill.
"We feel like this is a potential solution to challenging transportation issues," she said.
Cindy Knittig, who has been a school bus driver for 25 years, said implementing this bill would put the children at risk.
"I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with public transportation drivers, but they do not have the proper training to handle kids," she said.
In her testimony, Knittig said being a school bus driver requires a lot of training.
"Every year, before the start of school, we receive eight hours of in-service training, we receive two hours of safety training for the ten months of the school year, four hours non-crisis training," she said.
Knittig said to her understanding, public transportation drivers would only have to take a one-time written test.