A possible solution to upgrading the Van Buren School District’s aging bus fleet has been presented to the school board.
Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat recommended Monday night that the district lease six buses a year, beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
“This would give us a quick replacement for some of the district’s older buses,” Jeffcoat said.
The superintendent said he planned to ask the board to vote on the proposal at its monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the district office, 2221 Pointer Trail.
VBSD added four new buses to its fleet this year and the board has approved the purchase of three more for 2017-18.
“But, our bus fleet is still in deplorable condition,” Jeffcoat said. “The new buses will make a big difference, but we still have a lot of ground to be made up.”
Jeffcoat told the board he will suggest the district lease six buses a year at a cost of $21,000 per year, per bus over a three-year period for a total cost of $129,000 a year.
The lease agreement with Midwest Bus Sales would include a bumper-to-bumper warranty.
“The lease agreement would give us 13 new buses at the start of the 2017-18 school year,” Jeffcoat said. “At the end of the three years, we would have the option to purchase the buses or lease new ones.”
The district has 64 buses listed on its inventory, including 50 which are assigned to routes, three for trips, three as spares for trips, seven as spares and one is utilized by the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren to take students from schools to the club after school.
Twenty-eight of the buses have more than 100,000 miles, including eight which have more than 150,000 miles. One bus has 183,000-plus miles.
“We are covering a lot of ground and making headway with our bus fleet,” Jeffcoat said. “We need to buy at least three buses, maybe four or five, every year until we have retired every bus that is not cost-effective to operate.”