Hamilton County school board officially severs ties with Durham, approves new bus service contract

Busses pull up to drop students off during the first day of school on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at Battle Academy. (Could not photograph students leaving bus since due to lack of parental consent)

As of July 1, Hamilton County Schools' bus transportation will no longer be provided by Durham School Services.

With an 8-1 vote Thursday night, the school board approved a more than $11 million contract with First Student Inc., the new vendor it approved earlier this month.

The three-year contract ends the school district's controversial relationship with Durham, despite Durham's offer being at least $1 million less than First Student's. Durham found itself at the center of the deadly 2016 Woodmore Elementary school bus crash, after which one of its drivers was convicted in the deaths of six children, raising questions about safety.