The following were among actions taken at the June 18 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. For more information, call 691-2991.
BUS DRIVER DRUG TESTS -- The board voted 9 to 0, with member Olivia Michener absent, to require its 1,100 county school bus drivers to undergo mandatory urine tests for drug use. The move makes Fairfax County, which has the largest school bus fleet in the nation, only the second area jurisdiction to begin testing its drivers for drug use. The District has been testing its drivers for three years.
The board awarded a three-year contract with PHP Corp. to conduct the tests as well as physical examinations on the bus drivers. Superintendent Robert R. Spillane said the school system could drop the tests after a few years if only a small number of drivers test positive for drug use.
The issue dates back to November when the board, citing increased national concern about drug abuse, voted to seek bids from doctors and medical facilities to conduct mandatory drug tests on school bus drivers. State law requires bus drivers to take physical examinations before they are hired and each year after that.
The school system currently reimburses its drivers for up to $30 for examinations by private physicians. School officials have expressed concern, however, that private doctors are not required to follow any standardized procedure in certifying that their patients do not use drugs. Some officials also have said that private physicians might withhold pertinent information about their patients' health. They contend that doctors under contract with the school system would better represent the schools' interests.
School bus drivers will have to take the new tests before starting work this fall.