WBTV reported Monday that thanks to a loophole in state law, dozens of school buses serving students at charter schools in the Charlotte area go uninspected, prompting serious safety concerns.
State law only requires that charter schools ensure transportation isn’t a barrier to a student attending their school. There is no requirement to offer transportation services.
Because of that, charter school administrators said, the state does not provide any money for transportation.
Public schools, on the other hand, are provided buses for student transportation to and from school. Those buses also come with state-supported maintenance. Along with that funding from the state come requirements that each public school bus be inspected every 30 days.
Unlike public schools, charter schools are not required to conduct any inspections on their buses and there are no standardized maintenance requirements. Despite that, NCDPI offers free courtesy inspections to all charter schools once a year.
In spite of the fact that courtesy inspections are provided, only two of the twelve charter schools in the Charlotte area offering transportation took the state up on its offer.
Records examined by WBTV show that Sugar Creek Charter School has had repeated issues with the safety of its school buses.
There are nearly 150 charter schools statewide, none of which are required to comply with any safety standards when it comes to busing students.