GALLIA COUNTY — Officials in the Gallia County Local School District set forth a plan to deal with aging buses in the school board meeting earlier this week.
Transportation Director Larry Carter presented information to the Gallia Local School Board Monday night on the age and mileage of the current fleet of buses transporting students. Several buses are from 1998, and are showing their age.
“If you consider the age of some of these buses, and their mileage, would you put your kids on one of these buses?” said Carter. Several buses have had extensive work done recently to keep them roadworthy.
“We’re putting a lot of money into some of these buses and we will only get a year out of them,” stated Carter. Carter explained that the age and state of the fleet is a result of inconsistent purchasing of buses, forcing them to use older models that are more likely to break down.
At the board meeting Carter proposed a new plan to prevent this issue, to start purchasing buses on a cycle. The plan would be a part of the district budget and would purchase three to four buses annually to cycle out the older models. Even at this rate, it would take 12-13 years to cycle out the entire fleet. This plan will help maintain the fleet and prevent large expenditures down the road if several of the buses failed.
There are currently 35 buses running daily routes, most of which have more than 200,000 miles on them.
According to Superintendent Jude Meyers, the district will purchase three new buses this fall to help alleviate the burden of failing buses. They will again purchase two new buses in the spring so long as funds are available and not needed for another permanent improvement. These purchases will come from the Permanent Improvement Fund which can only be used for something that will last longer than five years.
After these purchases, the district will reassess in the fall of next year and begin the rotation of purchasing new buses to help maintain the safety of the fleet.
“We don’t want to compromise on the safety of our kids,” said Meyers.