BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County School System will request replacement of more buses than normal from the Greene County Commission for the coming budget year, according to information presented on Monday.
The Greene County Education Committee met at the school system's Central Office to hear a report on the purchase of buses, but did not have a quorum present to vote on the matter.
Members of the committee include Chairman Hilton Seay and Commissioners Wade McAmis, Jimmy Sams, Nathan Holt, Jan Kiker, David Crum, Lloyd "Hoot" Bowers and Tim White.
Director of Schools Dr. Vicki Kirk fills the ex-oficio position on the committee.
On Monday, only four of the eight commissioners were present: Commissioners Seay, McAmis, Holt and Bowers.
Kirk presented the request to these commissioners, explaining that state law limits the lifespan of school buses to 15 years, or a maximum of 17 years if they have under 200,000 miles and are inspected twice annually. Such inspections result in an annual cost of $800 per bus.
"That's a problem for us sometimes because we have some buses with just 12 years right now that have over 200,000 miles," Kirk said.
Mini-buses may only operate for 12 years under state law.
Three mini buses will reach this 12-year limit at the end of this year.
Two 78-passenger buses will reach 17 years this year as well.
Kirk said the system plans to remove another six buses from routes to use as spares because they are reaching high mileage and are 14 years old.
County Schools Transportation Director Clark Justis said that the system must maintain a minimum of 11 buses as spares to balance against the 80 to 100 buses the system runs on a daily basis.
In addition, two 84-passenger buses from 2001 have 240,000 or more miles on them.
The county purchased 11 buses in 2001, Kirk said.
The system has put out bids to request the following bus purchases:
* Four 78-passenger buses totaling $331,664;
* Two 84-passenger buses totaling $170,604; and,
* Three 21-passenger mini-buses totaling $194,949.
The total cost would be $697,217, a figure which Kirk said does exceed the normal annual request for buses. She estimated that the system would normally request six buses per year totaling about $500,000.
Due to lack of a quorum, Seay agreed to individually sponsor the resolution, which will appear before the Greene County Budget & Finance Committee on April 2.