A separate proposition on the ballot seeks voter approval to purchase six school buses at a cost not to exceed $665,000 (before state aid reimbursement, bond interest and estimated trade-in value). The bus purchase proposition breaks down as follows:
- $609,025 for the purchase of five 65-passenger buses
- $55,975 for the purchase of one Chevy Suburban
The actual cost to the District will be significantly less than the amount requiring voter approval. Cairo-Durham would receive approximately 70% in state aid reimbursement on the purchase of these buses. If approved, the bus proposition would also allow the District to trade in five buses that have become too costly to maintain.
The bus purchase is part of the District’s board-approved replacement plan designed to keep the fleet in safe, working order. Benefits of a bus replacement cycle include:
- Newest safety features
- Factory warranties
- Increased fuel efficiency
- Increased trade-in value
- Predictable debt service
- Reduced maintenance costs
Bus Purchase Questions & Answers
Why does the District purchase buses on a regular basis?
The primary reasons are student safety and long-term cost savings. In addition to maintaining a fleet of vehicles that are built with the latest safety features and efficiency standards, the bus replacement plan is designed to control repair and maintenance costs on older buses. By law, buses must undergo rigorous safety inspections twice a year and it costs more to maintain an older bus to the state’s standards than it costs to maintain a newer bus. Also, 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.
How does the District determine when to replace a bus?
The main consideration for 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.