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Penn Hills

State audit finds 2 Penn Hills bus drivers with criminal convictions

Theresa Clift
| Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, 12:30 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Auditor General's Office found that school districts used 10 bus drivers who should have been banned from transporting students because of criminal convictions, including two in Penn Hills.

Penn Hills had one bus driver with a felony drug conviction and one with an aggravated assault conviction, the state audit found.

The district had both drivers removed from their roles of transporting students when it learned of the convictions from the auditor general's office, Penn Hills School District spokeswoman Teresita Kolenchak said. The district terminated its contract with the bus company, Kittanning-based A.J. Myers and Sons, at the end of the fiscal year.

The school board voted in May 2016 to prohibit the company from bidding on district contracts, Kolenchak said.

“When the information was brought to our attention, the district took immediate action and had both drivers removed,” Kolenchak said.

William Myers, president of A.J. Myers and Sons, was not available to comment.

The company provides bus service for other districts in the region, an employee said.

In addition to the criminal convictions, the state audit found 11 drivers did not have evidence of a valid driver's license, proof that they completed school bus driver skills and safety training or evidence that they passed a physical examination, the auditor general's office said in a news release. Another five drivers were missing criminal history clearances, preventing the district from determining if they were suitable to transport students, the release said.

Auditors focused on the Lancaster School District, where they found 21 of 132 bus drivers as of June had failed to meet at least one employment requirement, the release said.

“Protecting the safety of students must be a top priority for every single school in the state,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said in the release. “It is outrageous that my team found bus drivers with criminal records that — by law — should have precluded them from driving students.”

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, tclift@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tclift.

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