School board member expresses doubt over school bus safety - FOX 13 News

School board member expresses doubt over school bus safety

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The outrage among Hillsborough County School Bus drivers has gone from idle to overdrive.

Dozens rallied at a town hall meeting in Apollo Beach hosted by school board member April Griffin.

Though already planned, it comes just days after a key transportation supervisor quit, expressing frustration with the department.

The bus fleet is the 59th oldest of the state's 67 school districts.

Officials confirm many are way beyond the recommended 15 year retirement age.

Sheila Mingo has been behind the wheel of one for more than a decade.

"It's in and out of the shop, stays at the dealer more than it stays on the road," Mingo said. "You would think with it being the second largest school district in Florida that it would be run more efficiently," she added.

Recently the district doled out an $800,000 settlement to the family of Isabella Herrera. The 7-year-old died 2 years ago after suffering a medical emergency on board a bus.

Driver Ronald Montgomery hopes these meetings lead to change in the Transportation Department.

"I think there is room for growth. When that growth is going to happen, we don't know," said Montgomery, a bus driver.

Are the school buses in Hillsborough County safe?

"I don't think at this point they are," said school board member April Griffin.

Griffin says the potential is there, but there's a long road ahead.

A spokesperson for the school district responded, telling FOX 13 there are two sides to every story.

"Sometimes you have to separate fact from fiction, because some of it might be rumors, some of it might be exaggeration, some of it might be true. Some of it might we something we need to deal with," said district spokesperson Steve Hegarty.

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