The New Orleans City Council has agreed to new rules for bus companies serving the city's charter schools.

The council adopted rules on February 8, proposed by the mayor LaToya Cantrell aimed at correcting problems that civil servants have recently encountered on some buses that they said threatened the safety of children, according to the New Orleans Advocate.

"We are rapidly taking action to improve the accountability of the school bus in the city, and I am grateful to the Council for its leadership and for sharing a unified vision with our administration on this issue," said Cantrell in a statement after the unanimous vote. vote of the board. .

Bus companies will have to apply for permits for their vehicles and their drivers, under a process that will reveal the city in the coming weeks. Their drivers must carry ID tags and undergo background checks, and their vehicles will be inspected routinely. Violations lead to fines and suspension of driving rights.

These and other rules are expected to take effect before the next school year.

Under the new regulation, the Taxicab and the For-Hire Vehicle Bureau – now called the Ground Transportation Bureau – will issue permits to every bus in the fleet of a private company and to every driver of a bus or van that shuttles by the next school year. makes children. Companies will receive the initial bus permits free of charge, but will have to pay $ 150 annually to renew a permit and $ 50 each for the two annual inspections required for each bus.

They pay a first fine of $ 50 if their buses are poorly maintained and more than that for multiple violations.

The city can also remove problem buses from the road. The regulation also gives the city the right to quote bus companies instead of real estate owners when buses are illegally parked on private property.

Companies must have $ 1 million in insurance per vehicle and have to inform the city where their buses are stored and who their customers are.

The parish board of the Orleans Parish will also annually school schools on the rules for buses and will closely monitor the contracts of schools with bus operators – steps that board member Joe Giarrusso, a former board chairman of the charter management organization KIPP New Orleans, said welcomed.

Charter schools that do not contract with a transit company in advance are not subject to the new rules.

Councilor Kristin Gisleson Palmer said the rules will "have a huge impact" on the well-being of children.

Officials said the effort was filling a gap that had arisen after the rise of the school system with all the charters of the city. Before 2005, the Order of the Parish of Orléans supervised all aspects of the school board, including school bus maintenance and operations.

While some of the charter board principals initially cooled some points in the mayor's proposal, those items were later adapted.

Ken Ducote of the Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools said his 14 member charter organizations support the city's supervision.

"We promise in the future to continue working on solving the problems that have arisen, without the need to come back by a regulation," said Ducote.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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