BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)–Sullivan County School leaders say they’re considering making a big change to the district’s transportation system.

Currently, the school system contracts with a private company to run its routes; that could end soon.

Last week, the Sullivan County Board of Education voted to create a subcommittee to study whether the district should begin purchasing its own vehicles and take over hiring drivers to transport students to school.

Committee co-chair Michael Hughes told News Channel 11 that he’s seen a need for the district to have better oversight of its transportation in recent years.

“Last year, we had a threat of a work stoppage which would have left us in a bind and a few contract disputes this year,” said Hughes.

Sullivan County parent Ariana Volpe told News Channel 11 that it hasn’t been easy to navigate the bus system over her two children’s years in the school system.

Among other issues, Volpe said she’s encountered inconsistent schedules, bullying on board and reckless drivers; however, with bus drivers who are employed outside the system, parents and district officials have less power to hold drivers accountable for bad behavior.

Volpe said she tried to report a reckless driver to contractor C&S when her daughter was younger. She didn’t get far.

“They would basically just hang up on me,” said Volpe.

However, not all parents are of the same opinion.

“Everything runs pretty smooth for the most part,” parent Tim Middendorf said.

Hughes said he’d like to see the district be able to hold drivers accountable.

“We’re coming to the realization that we need to control our own destiny,” said Hughes.

Another factor the board of education must consider is cost. The school district has paid almost $5 million for the contracted transportation services, but purchasing the buses and hiring district-employed drivers could result in a higher price tag.

Regardless of the results of the study, Hughes said the subcommittee’s decision is paramount.

“I can’t think of anything more important than transportation of our children.”

Hughes said he hopes to have a report on the bus study available by spring.

News Channel 11 reached out to C&S Transit for an interview, but the company declined to comment on its relationship with Sullivan County Schools.