By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — Two new buses will be added to the fleet for the River Bend School District, but brand new automobiles come at a price.
School board officials met on Monday and approved the purchases of two 2015 Bluebird All-American passenger buses for nearly $180,000 with a $4,000 trade-in allowance for two current buses being replaced.
Board members agreed with the purchase of the two new buses, but some showed reservation about allowing the trade-in at such a low price.
“Should we offer this out for sealed bid, if anybody wants to purchase them, instead of trading them in?” Board member Chris Barnett asked. “I mean if we offered it for sealed bid, maybe somebody would be interested in it.”
School board secretary Eric Fish also agreed that the district shouldn’t trade in the buses and acted as the only negative vote toward the bus purchase.
According to school board president Dan Portz however, the buses are not in good condition and accepting the trade-in is the best option for the district.
“These buses are basically to the point of, not that they’re giving us trouble, but they have the potential of transmission issues and stuff like that, that were beyond any kind of warranty,” Portz said. “No, it’s not a lot of money that we’re getting for the trade-in value, but at the same time liability and legality of trying to sell assets, we’re going to spend as much as we get.”
The district will keep an additional bus that was offered as part of the proposal, but was removed after the transportation committee suggested keeping it to be used for spare parts in the future.
In addition to the purchase of the new buses, the district is also going to have to ensure it is compliant with emissions laws when using diesel gasoline, another cost it will have to allocate for in the future.
According to Fish, making the buses compliant is not a major issue, but the district will be required to purchase a special additive liquid that will filter the bus’ emissions, putting cleaner air into the environment.
“We already buy diesel fuel, now we’re going to have to buy diesel emissions fluid,” Fish said. “It’s not a big deal but it’s got a shelf life so we can’t store it over the summer.”