Bay District Schools to Buy New Buses

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Bay District Schools may be buying a new fleet of school buses. District officials say the current ones are some of the oldest in the state and are causing safety concerns.

A room full of educators, students, and award winners set a light tone for Tuesday's school board meeting. It soon changed when one topic came onto the agenda: school buses.

The district's school buses are the fifth oldest fleet in the state and they've been trying to replace them for some time, but the funds haven't been there.

"It's not only a thing of safety to be worried about, but should we be putting money into something we know is getting ready to fall apart or not last and it's just about efficiency," said Superintendent Bill Husfelt.

The district is looking into buying ten new buses for more than a million dollars. The decision to use either diesel, propane, or natural gas in the new buses became a heated topic between school board members.

School district officials say natural gas is more efficient, but the start up costs are high.

"We decided to go with the diesel for right now, but it would not surprise me if a year from now if we didn't buy some kind of natural gas or compressed gas buses," said Superintendent Husfelt.

A decision that had four yes votes and one no vote.

"We are looking for the best efficiency and we are looking at the least amount of cost, but the irony part is that we need to order buses," said Jerry Register, a school board member.

Something Register says put a limit on researching how to fuel the new buses.

"I think we could have done a better job going back and looking at all the different sources of energy that we needed to use in the buses," said Register.

The school district says money for the buses will come out of the reserve fund budget.