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Rochester Bus Driver Arrested For Theft Before Pickup at High School

The school bus the 53-year-old woman was driving was parked outside the Rochester Hills store where she was arrested for retail fraud, police say.

A bus driver for Rochester Community Schools was arrested for retail fraud at the Village of Rochester Hills on Friday afternoon while the school bus she had been driving was parked in the store's parking lot, according to police.

The incident was reported at 2:40 p.m. Friday; according to Rochester Schools officials, the bus driver was scheduled to pick up students at Stoney Creek High School.

The bus driver was a 53-year-old woman, according to a news release from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office; she was arrested and taken to the Oakland County Jail pending an arraignment. The specifics of the retail fraud complaint were not immediately known.

According to the news release, the school district's bus garage was contacted at the time of the driver's arrest to retrieve the school bus from the parking lot. There were no students on the bus when the incident occurred.

Bus drivers for Rochester Schools are contracted employees of Durham School Services, an Illinois-based company that operates more than 17,000 school buses nationwide. 

Rochester Schools officials issued the following statement on Sunday night: "We are discussing the issue with Durham and anticipate their response explaining how something of this nature could have occurred and what safeguards they have in place to prevent future incidents."

Last spring, Rochester school leaders, under the advisement of former Superintendent Fred Clarke, approved the along with custodian and partial ground services, to save the district money. Clarke resigned last week.

The school district's contract with Durham is for three years and is estimated to save the district $4.7 million.

An update on the Durham relationship with Rochester is planned for the Monday night Board of Education meeting.

According to a Q&A on the Durham website, all drivers are required to pass a drug and alcohol screening and a criminal background check. It is not known how long the driver has been a part of the Rochester fleet. 

Carol Jackson September 24, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Speaking of wishing to have the info clarified, yes, I would be interested to hear from Dr. Nylewsky a) what was exaggerated & what happened instead & b) what makes her think her version is the one we should take more seriously than the news account. I would also like to hear from "lynda" a) what happened previously (the alleged shoplifting? the parking the bus to allegedly shoplift?) & on what tape available to whom? If "it" happened before & was caught on tape, why wasn't the driver apprehended then? Stores aren't that nice to shoplifters. Similarly, I would like to hear how she "knows" that her account is correct. Whatever (if anything) is wrong with this article, it's sourced. The police, school district, & the Durham company's website are all cited. If others know more or know better sources, that's great, but tell us who they are & why we should believe them.
Chris September 24, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I am appalled that Durham hired such a criminal. Sorry, but crime is crime and this lady had a lot of nerve to steal on her way to pick up kids!! With her bus in tow! UGHH!!!!!!
Joshua Raymond September 24, 2012 at 03:41 PM
For those going to the BOE meetings, it is always a good idea to read the Board Packet beforehand to find out when you will have a time to speak about an issue. Durham happens to be on the agenda tonight. See http://media.rochester.k12.mi.us/download/149720?token=OCaRojCyVwc%3d for the agenda and related material.
Kristin Bull (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Concerns heard, Mike. It seemed relevant to me because it was my understanding the school board acted on the recommendation of the administration team. But I can see your point and I appreciate your feedback.
Kristin Bull (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Hi, Kendra. If there are inaccuracies in this story or in the information that was included in the police report or in the information we received from the school bus management company, the school district, or the jail inmate release/booking records, please let me know. My contact information is included at the top of the Patch home page.
Kristin Bull (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The bus driver, who has been arraigned on charges of first-degree retail fraud, had a prior arrest. http://patch.com/A-yb0d We are still awaiting a response from Durham School Services.
Alex Freeman September 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Reno gets his dream: Outsourcing. Now complains about board malfeasance. How about the legislature reducing per pupil funding? That is why Durham was hired. Thank your bigoted buddy Tom McMillin
Marcus Burger September 24, 2012 at 04:54 PM
"Dr Kendra", it looks pretty FACTUAL to me... "On Friday, Stacho was arrested by deputies from the sheriff's office at Parisian at The Village of Rochester Hills, where a loss prevention officer observed her attempting to steal $543 in clothing, Johnson said. Her school bus was parked outside the store." I think that the article was quite neutral and straight forward, considering the fact that this is a second offense. Stacho wouldn't happen to be a friend of yours, would she?
Cynthia Rocco September 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
The district wasn't broke, in fact, they had one of the largest rainy day funds in all of Oakland County. This is what happens when you outsource, our community was promised that this company was going to do complete background checks on the new employees. It's quite clear that didn't happen and for this reason anyone involved in this decision should be held accountable.
Cynthia Rocco September 24, 2012 at 05:50 PM
This is a new driver, I had 23 years with the district and I left in May to work for Utica Community Schools due to the outsourcing of the transportation department. I have never seen this woman before. Quite upset, I still have a son using the Rochester Bus system.
RH Mom September 24, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Not that I am at the Mall that often (; but I always find it odd when school buses parked in the back lot of Parisian?
Cynthia Rocco September 24, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I worked for the district for 23 years, we were never even allowed to be in that parking lot, it was off limits to transportation employees. They also have GPS systems on those buses, how come they didn't know where she was. We were also not allowed to leave for our pm runs until 15 minutes before school let out, how was she able to have time to stop at a mall?
Mike Reno September 24, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Hardly a "dream". And god forbid that we put more money back in the classroom. You make a silly point. You don't think this could've happened if it was a direct employee? http://www.azfamily.com/news/Valley-School-Bus-Driver-Accused-of-Crimes-Against-Children-160633725.html Rochester has had employees with issues. There was an employee dismissed just a few years ago for inappropriate touching and texting. This driver's past misdemeanor happened just 4 months ago, and I wonder if the district would've caught it. Even if they do annual background checks (which I believe the union found objectionable), I wonder whether a misdemeanor would've been detected. And even it is was, depending on timing, it could've theoretically gone undetected for up to another 11 months before the next check. So, should we start doing monthly checks? Weekly checks? I don't think the district would detect whether a teacher was charged with misdemeanor theft. My point is that this same thing could've happened even if the person worked directly for the district. We certainly don't want to be cavalier about this, but you need to be realistic. And this sick obsession you have with Tom... just wow.
Rochester Resident September 24, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Are you serious? They made a decision that in turn led to a person with a criminal history driving our kids to school!
Tim Watkins September 24, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Say what you want, this WOULD NOT have happened had administrative greed over taken Rochester Community Schools resulting in privatizing custodial and transportation. It's only a matter of time before harm comes to a student. It has happened in nearby districts, it's only a matter of time before it happens to a student at RCS!! And please don't say they had to privatize to prevent bankruptcy after that huge severance package they gave to the former superintendant!!
Concerned Union Member September 24, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Mike Reno’a comment " This driver's past misdemeanor happened just 4 months ago, and I wonder if the district would've caught it. Even if they do annual background checks (which I believe the union found objectionable), I wonder whether a misdemeanor would've been detected." Are totally false. The Background checks for School employees are governed by law. If in fact a school employee is charged with a crime they MUST report it to the superintendents office within 24 hrs or be subject to termination. So please Mike don't try to undermine the "Union"as our members follow the law and I know for a fact have reported to the district whenever arrested or charged with any crime, no matter how small. Bottom line private contractors don't fall under the same laws as school employees, school employees are held to a much higher standard.
Concerned Union Member September 24, 2012 at 09:11 PM
OMG Mike Reno, The article you cite did not even happen in Michigan it happened in AZ. Michigan has laws Mike that School Employees HAVE to follow. You are so anti Union it is unreal.
Concerned Union Member September 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Portion of PA 129 -131 and 138 2005 This Governs School District Employees in Michigan · If the employee does not report the charge or conviction, he or she is guilty of an additional crime. If the non-reported charge or conviction is a felony or listed offense, the person is guilty of a felony. If the non-reported charge is a non-listed offense misdemeanor, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor. · If the employee does not report the charge or conviction, the district may discharge the person from employment or termination of his or her contract, following notice and the opportunity of a hearing. Mike please know your facts before you post, would be more then happy to debate.
Mike Reno September 24, 2012 at 09:37 PM
OK... would a Michigan story matter? http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/gun_lake_region/Hastings-bus-driver-held-on-CSC-charges http://www.wndu.com/hometop/headlines/111726874.html
Richard Happening September 24, 2012 at 09:41 PM
The only difference that outsourcing will cause with respect to this incident is the immediate dismissal of this bad person, instead of a protracted battle with an arcane union system. Why in the world is a custodian or a bus driver part of some silly union? Answer: to ensure that they are overpaid and not held accountable for the quality of their work.
Carol Jackson September 24, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@Mike Reno: I am not so sure the first arrest would have been undetected if the perpetrator had been an RCS employee. A store in the district might have found a way to notify an employer in the district. Kids from RCS schools may well work at Parisian; parents of RCS students certainly work at Parisian. A concern for privacy rights or something of that nature might keep Parisian from formally notifying an employer all the way in Chicago, but not necessarily informally notifying one in the same town. That said, I agree with your point about any employer, including RCS, potentially having unforeseen problems with this sort of thing. & shoplifting isn't always something people do who need money. But there is some validity to the concern about the quality of employee a cut-rate employer attracts. As I hope our kids are learning, cost cutting doesn't come from nothing. This issue by itself may not mean so much (except for the issue of why was the driver using a bus on even legal personal business -- is my tax money going to gas up buses for shopping sprees?), but if this is part of a pattern, what solution do you propose then?
Concerned Union Member September 24, 2012 at 11:08 PM
But Mike the issue you cited was that an employee with a prior convection could have happened in RCS. whereas I'm stating that there are safe guards in Michigan law for public school employers in crime reporting. You state that she was charged 4 months ago. If in fact she would have been an RCS employee she would have had to tell the judge that she was a school employee under the law. Further more she would have had to report it to the superintendents office. Failure to comply with either of the above would result in criminal charges for failure to report punishable by jail time. Private contractors only have to do pre employment checks.
Jane Smith September 25, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Amen to that.
Alex Freeman September 25, 2012 at 02:35 AM
http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/macomb_county/12-year-old-mt.-clemens-girl-gives-birth-to-a-baby-and-the-alleged-father-is-a-28-year-old-man Tom McMillin's Charter School. Janitor impregnated student. Where were the controls?
Mike Reno September 25, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Contractors are subject to the same laws: Here is a link to the contract, and the relevant provision: http://media.rochester.k12.mi.us/download/139614?token=OCaRojCyVwc%3d 6.3.1 School District’s Philosophy: It is the School District’s intent to provide high-quality Transportation Services and to ensure the safety and comfort of the School District’s Students. The Contractor hereby recognizes the following examples of safety standards for its personnel. 6.3.1.1 For the protection of Students, the drivers and other persons who have contact with Students and their families shall meet or exceed all certifications and requirements mandated by all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations. So this would clearly include the laws you cited.
Joshua Raymond September 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Cynthia, our fund balance "rainy day fund" is rapidly shrinking. It has decreased by millions over the last couple years. We could not afford to spend at the rate we were any longer. The two largest pools of money to go after were maintenance and transportation or teacher salaries and benefits. The BOE and administration chose maintenance and transportation first. If they don't cut teacher salaries and benefits this year, I don't know where they will get the money. This employee's background check would have been done prior to her February arrest. She had been with Durham for three years.
Concerned Union Member September 25, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Mike , I see the contract but private contractors aren't charged with additional crimes for not reporting a crime. Therefore not subject to the strict rule of law that school employees are.
Robin September 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM
First, i would like to say is that i am a past School bus driver, have been since 1986 til 2004 I also know ALOT of drivers ! And i do know Roseanne Stacho ! Also Durham School Services is a good company, Children ALWAYS come first! I have read comments as ...... safety of children, well as with Durham they hired most drivers back that have already either worked for or another district and its NOT like they just take whoever off the street looking for a job and throw them in a bus to drive children around! Their is ALOT of training to go through to be or become a school bus driver, even after you been driving for years you still have training, classes, dot physical, random drug and alcohol tests! Durham also, does a record check, but to this if a driver does NOT tell their employer, and they run a record check once a year! So, to that its not right to throw blame on Durham School services! They are doing a great job, the ones to be angry at are the school boards from the districts that decide too sell out us bus drivers, custodians, kitchen staff and grounds! that cant seem to manage the money (except in their own pockets) Bottom line is, the best company out there that you would want in your school district is Durham School Services! As, to the School Bus driver....... Roseanne Stacho she is a very caring person and she is a good bus driver, but what she is being accused of was wrong on her part, and even MORE wrong and unfair to others she did this while on the job!!!!
Cynthia Rocco September 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM
How about as a Rochester Hills taxpayers we are funding the gasoline and transportation of Durham's employees criminal acts. Somehow I have a problem with this. Why would Durham employee be exempt from a criminal background check when they gave the current Rochester School employees background checks when they hired with Durham?
Cynthia Rocco September 26, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Robin As stated in past comments, I was a former bus driver for Rochester Community Schools for 23 years. I also am a parent of a student that attends RCS and last but not least I'm a taxpayer in RCS. Last April, the board, the administrators and Durham assured us that the new hires would be put through background checks. If the Rochester School employees had background checks why didn't the Durham employees have background checks?

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