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Jan 18, 2018
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

2017-18 Budget News

separating rule

Is the district purchasing buses for next school year?

Yes, but there will not be a separate proposition for the purchase of buses since the district will not borrow funds to buy them this year. Instead of incurring debt, the proposed budget includes $750,000 for the planned purchase of four 66-passenger buses, three 29-passenger buses, and one wheelchair-accessible bus to replace some of the district’s oldest buses.

The district is also slated to be reimbursed approximately 66 percent of the cost of the buses through state transportation aid in subsequent years, resulting in a net local cost of approximately $255,000. Additionally, by purchasing buses outright, the district saves an estimated $15,000 in interest and legal fees associated with borrowing funds.

The district’s retired buses are expected to be traded in to further reduce the purchase price of the new buses.

The buses scheduled to be replaced in the 2017-18 school year are among the oldest in the district’s fleet and have already accumulated high mileage, exceeded their warranties, and undergone many maintenance repairs. Beyond certain limits, buses typically become too costly to maintain given the state’s stringent safety codes. Furthermore, new school buses are aligned with the latest safety and emissions standards and have better fuel economy rates.

According to state law, if a bus doesn’t pass inspection, it must be taken off the road until repairs are made. When this happens, the district has fewer buses to use for trips outside of the regular daily school runs, such as athletic team transportation, field trips, etc.

Bus replacement plan

BH-BL’s 68-bus fleet travels more than 700,000 miles a year, transporting more than 3,100 students to and from its five schools. The buses are also used for sporting events, out-of-district runs, shared transportation runs, field trips, summer school, and other events.

In order to keep buses in safe working order, the district’s long-standing policy has been to replace a few of the oldest buses each year.

Was there another proposition on the ballot?

Yes. In addition to the first proposition (the 2017-18 school budget), residents were also asked to vote on a second proposition reauthorizing an ex officio student member position on the BH-BL Board of Education. This too was approved.

This proposition was first proposed and approved in May of 2015. For the past two years, a different high school student each school year has been appointed as an ex officio member. The students attended board meetings, sat at the board table, and contributed to public discussions. An ex officio student member does not vote and does not attend executive sessions. By law, residents must approve this proposition every two years.

“We feel it’s important to learn from our students and consider their perspective during our decision-making process,” says Board President Peter Sawyer. “For the past two years, the students’ input has been invaluable.”