Campbell County school bus driver frustrated county won't help w

Campbell County school bus driver frustrated county won't help with driveway

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Bus driver Sue Barrett has asked Campbell County for gravel for her driveway. Bus driver Sue Barrett has asked Campbell County for gravel for her driveway.
"I want some rock. I want to be able to get in and out without spinning my wheels, without wading in mud to get to the bus," Barrett said. "You know, that's not much to ask. "I want some rock. I want to be able to get in and out without spinning my wheels, without wading in mud to get to the bus," Barrett said. "You know, that's not much to ask.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

DUFF (WATE) - Every day school bus drivers have to meet a deadline - getting their kids to school on time.

But when the weather is wet, one driver in Campbell County fears she won't even make it out of her driveway where she parks her bus.

Sue Barrett is a widow who needs a helping hand and can't get it from the very county she works for.    

In the morning, when she steps into her bus, she hopes the driveway under her is dry.

For years, she's driven Bus 48 to White Oak Elementary School as an independent contractor.

On wet days, it's the first 20 feet of her eight-mile trip that's the most treacherous.

The day we visited Barrett, the drive where she parks her bus was half mud. Gravel delivered nearly eight months ago was long gone. So now, she has to get the bus up to speed.

"If it's muddy, you have to really take off down there," she said. "Once I drop the kids off the school, I worry all the way home, 'Where am I going to park? Where am I going to park? Where am I going to park out of the mud?"

The community of Duff is in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains, about 20 minutes outside of LaFollette.

It was August of last year when the county dumped a truck load of gravel on her unpaved circular driveway.

Since January, Barrett's plea to the county's road superintendent for more gravel has gone unanswered.

"I used to be able to have it delivered when I called. They realized I needed it for the bus.   Now, nothing," she said.

Barrett says calling Superintendent Dennis Potter's office is frustrating.

"They told me they're three months behind on their deliveries, the next time I call. Well, I think you are on the list. I called my transportation supervisor I said, 'Boy, I think the gravel would really help me.' He said, 'Sue, I don't think you're going to get any," Barrett said.

As a widow and on her salary, Barrett says she can't afford to buy stone and gravel out of her own pocket.

From her home, 6 On Your Side called the road superintendent's office. Potter wasn't in. An hour after we left, he called back.

Potter said he'd, "like to help Mrs. Barrett, but the budget is tight."

Besides, he said, "the county is not supposed to do private driveways," although he did admit the county delivered gravel and rock in the past.

But Dennis Potter said, "she doesn't have to park the bus at her home, it's her choice."

"I want some rock. I want to be able to get in and out without spinning my wheels, without wading in mud to get to the bus," she said. "You know, that's not much to ask.

Barrett figures the estimated cost of the gravel and rock that she needs to create a solid base would be $300 to $500.

But again, county officials tell her that while they'd like to help, they can't. 


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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