LINDEN — North Montgomery Transportation Director James McBee received approval Monday to purchase five gas-powered school buses for the district.
The buses will cost $463,509 — or $92,701 each — and will be purchased new from Midwest Transit. The price tag will be covered by the district’s Operations ($434,000) and Rainy Day ($25,509) funds.
McBee and others in the transportation department performed a study in the last calendar year to determine if gas- or diesel-powered engines would best suit the district’s rural routes.
Factors such as fuel mileage, fuel costs, power and expected maintenance were considered in McBee’s decision to move to gas.
“We’re learning what it takes to get 12 years out of a bus,” said McBee, who noted 12 years as the length of time a district is required to maintain a bus before it can be sold or traded in.
Though diesel holds the advantage over gas concerning mileage and fuel costs, the gas-powered engines promise less maintenance and fewer emissions over 12 years.
“The biggest issue we have in maintenance is emissions costs,” McBee said. “You only have a 10-year warranty on that, and we have to keep them for 12. If you lose that emissions system [in a diesel engine], it’s about $4,000-$5,000 to replace, so very easily that would gobble up that savings pretty quickly.”
Other advantages to gas buses include: Ample power for rural routes; less noise for drivers, aides and riders; decreased labor time; and no electric plug-in is necessary when warming up during cold mornings.
Furthermore, McBee said the buses will be fitted with backup cameras and LED lights.
The addition of five buses will bring the district’s total to 51.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a $2,000 stipend for nurses.
• Approved the hire, transfer, termination and resignation of multiple employees, including: Arianna Kolota, resignation as instructional aide, Pleasant Hill; Abigail Wilmsen, resignation as art teacher, Sugar Creek; Shana Osborne, transfer from food service substitute to food service, Sugar Creek; Kelly Dozier, hired as food service substitute; James Laube, hired as custodian, NMMS; Sarah Welcher, hired as receptionist, NMMS; and Autumn Estep, hired as custodian, NMMS. The board also approved the re-appointment of Carolyn Mullen and Mary Lefebvre to the Darlington Library Board.
The next school board meeting will be 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at the administration building, 480 W. C.R. 580N.