School Bus Purchase Proposition
(May 1, 2018) -- A separate proposition on the May 15, 2018 ballot seeks voter approval to purchase seven (7) school buses at a cost not to exceed $619,762 (before state aid reimbursement). The bus purchase is part of an ongoing bus replacement plan designed to keep the District’s fleet in safe, working order. The school bus proposition breaks down as follows:
- $566,555 for the purchase of five (5) 65-passenger buses
- $53,207 for the purchase of two (2) 5- to 7-passenger SUVs (such as a Chevy Traverse/ or Ford Explorer)
- – $113,311 trade-in or sale for five (5) 65-passenger buses
- $619,762 bus proposition total ($506,451 after trade ins)
The District is eligible to receive approximately 66% in state aid reimbursement on the purchase of these vehicles. The actual cost to the District will be significantly less than the amount requiring voter approval. After adding bond interest and deducting state aid reimbursement, the net cost of this purchase is estimated to be $214,078, which will be paid through a bond over five years. If approved, the bus proposition would allow the District to trade in five (5) buses that have become expensive for the District to maintain.
The State Education Department recommends that districts replace small buses every five to seven years and large buses every 10 years. The District decided to adopt a seven-year bus purchasing plan to maximize the trade-in value of each bus. Trade-in values decrease dramatically when buses reach 8-10 years of age.
Bus Purchase Q & A
Why does the District purchase buses on a regular basis?
Buses are regularly purchased in order to maintain a modern fleet of vehicles that are built with the latest safety features and efficiency standards. Each year, the District purchases five new buses to replace older models, as part of a seven-year bus purchasing plan (adopted by the Board of Education in 2016). The bus replacement plan is designed to ensure student safety and control repair/maintenance costs on older buses.
How does the District determine when to replace a bus?
The primary consideration for bus replacement is the age of the bus. The average lifespan of a school bus in the Northeast is roughly 10-12 years, mostly due to weather conditions and corrosive salt mixtures used on local roads. State law requires buses to undergo rigorous safety inspections twice a year. If a school bus fails one of these inspections, it must be taken off the road immediately and cannot return to service until it meets the state’s standards. It costs much more to maintain an older bus to the state’s standards than it costs to maintain a newer bus.