Nye County parents outraged by no air conditioning on some buses; District responds

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 2:53 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Parents in Nye County are outraged and concerned for their children’s safety because they say their kids are riding to school in buses with no air conditioning.

“It’s very hot on the outside so imagine the inside,” said Jessica Kadrmas. “Packed full of students and a bus aide and a driver. And it’s a tin can essentially.”

Kadrmas measured the temperature on the bus and saw it hit 112 degrees in just five minutes. This isn’t surprising considering she lives close to Death Valley National Park, which is known for its high temperatures.

“Right now I started picking them up from school in the afternoon because they were practically passing out on the bus from the heat,” said Rebecca Lucas.

Lucas said she is also concerned for her children’s safety.

“Almost every single day, my kindergartner was asleep on the bus. She usually isn’t tired after school. She’s usually a ball of energy and super happy,” Lucas said. “When she would get off the bus, she would be so cranky, her face would be red as a tomato, and she was just dripping sweat. I’m very angry because if it was me that left my kid in a car that hot I go to jail for child endangerment.”

“We haven’t had issues with this until this year,” said Dr. Brenda Slusser, executive director of Nye County School District. “The monsoon season has been incredibly hot and humid.”

“Some buses have air-conditioning that are functioning, some that are not currently functioning, and some do not have air-conditioning,” said assistant superintendent, Laura Weir. “It all just depends on the bus and the location.”

In a statement to FOX5, the district says $2.5 million was allocated to replace the buses, seven for Pahrump routes and one each for Armargosa, Beatty, Tonopah, and Round Mountain. The district said this cycle will continue for ten years.

“The prices for the buses is up 40% and we don’t have a lot of funding,” Dr. Slusser said. “We’re one of the most rural areas and one of the poorest counties and so we don’t get a lot of funding.”

The parents said they want to see the upgraded buses that are usually saved for sports used on every day routes because they do have air conditioning. Weir said they will be.

Weir also said if you want to help, it’ll start with talking to lawmakers about giving more funding to rural schools.