When taxpayers head to the polls May 15 to cast their vote on school budgets throughout the area, many will decide on bus purchases as well.
The North Syracuse Central School District is one such district and residents will be asked to vote on a bus bond proposition, essentially making a decision on the purchase of 10 65-passenger and two specialty buses.
The total purchase amount is $1,250,652. With the district’s aid ratio being 81 percent, the impact of the purchase on homes costing $100,000 is $1.50 a year before STAR, which is a “nominal investment,” said Donald Keegan, assistant superintendent for management, during the April 23 Board of Education meeting.
“It’s almost financially negligible not to purchase the buses,” he added.
The recommendation of 12 buses is consistent with years prior as the district has worked to keep the vehicles in the transportation department aged eight to 10 years at the time of replacement. Replacement is done on a rotating schedule as maintenance on older vehicles is less cost effective than purchasing new.
“The district’s run a bus replacement program for quite a while now with the objective of keeping our fleet age eight to 10 years,” Keegan said. “The useful life of a bus in upstate New York with the salt and winter roads is about 10 years.”
After 10 years, the bus frames begin to deteriorate and have difficulty passing state Department of Transportation inspections.
“When you have as many busses as the district has, it’s important that we systematically replace the fleet,” Keegan said.
The purchases planned for the coming year will include extended warranties, he said.
Board of Education President Pat Carbone said the proposition last year was shot down, so this year the board needs to be sure to explain exactly what the proposition is and the savings associated.