A separate proposition on the May 21 ballot seeks voter approval to purchase six (6) school buses at a cost not to exceed $646,060 (before state aid reimbursement, bond interest and estimated trade-in value). Of the six new buses, five would be large 65-passenger buses and one would be a smaller, 23-passenger bus with accessibility features (e.g., wheelchair lift).
Because the District is eligible to receive approximately 67% in state aid reimbursement on the purchase of these buses, the actual cost to the District will be significantly less than the amount requiring voter approval. This reduces the local taxpayer share to $228,808, which would be paid for through a bond at an estimated 4% interest rate over five years. The school bus proposition breaks down as follows:
- $575,553 for the purchase of five 65-passenger buses
- $70,507 for the purchase of one 23-passenger bus w/ accessibility features
- - $40,000 trade-in or sale for five 65-passenger buses
- - $453,100 estimated Transportation Aid reimbursement
- $75,848 estimated interest expense on bond
- Estimated net total for taxpayers = $228,808
If approved, the bus proposition would also allow the District to trade in five (5) buses that have become expensive for the District to maintain.
Bus Purchase Questions & Answers
Why does the District purchase buses on a regular basis?
The goal is to maintain a modern fleet of vehicles that are built with the latest safety features and efficiency standards. The bus replacement plan is designed to ensure student safety as well as control repair and maintenance costs on older buses. State law requires buses to undergo rigorous safety inspections twice a year. If a school bus fails an inspection, 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.
How does the District determine when to replace a bus?
The primary consideration for bus replacement is the age of the bus. The State Education Department recommends that districts replace small buses every five to seven years and large buses every 10 years. The average lifespan of a school bus in the Northeast is about 10-12 years, mostly due to weather conditions and corrosive salt mixtures used on local roads. Furthermore, trade-in values decrease dramatically when buses reach 8-10 years of age. In 2016, the District adopted a seven-year bus purchasing plan to maximize the trade-in value of each bus.