Cassville School District purchases 5 new buses for new year

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cost comes in at $433,750 after 4 trade-ins

As part of its bus rotation system, the Cassville school district is trading in four used buses for five new Bluebird-brand buses from Central States Bus Sales, at a cost of $90,970 per bus.

Three vendors bid for the purchase, but only two offered a trade-in value for the district's four older buses. Central States Bus Sales offered a trade-in value of $21,100, Midwest Bus Sales offered a trade-in value of $8,000 and Midwest offered no trade-in value. Both Midwest and Midwest Bus Sales, two separate companies, carried Thomas-brand buses, and Central States Bus Sales carried Bluebird-brand buses.

The district chose Central States Bus Sales, giving them $21,000 to put toward the cost of the lease-purchase for the five new buses, making the total purchase price $433,750.

"Out of our fleet of 25-28 buses, some of our existing fleet will be traded in," said Richard Asbill, superintendent. "Those are our oldest buses with the highest mileage."

The purchases are on track with the district's budget and the district's goals.

"It's important to keep an updated fleet for safety but it also helps us in maintaining costs and providing good buses for our students and a current opportunity for us to be successful on our bus inspections," Asbill said.

The district recently won a Fleet Excellence award from the Department of Transportation for receiving a 100-percent score on bus inspections.

The life cycle of each bus is usually about 10-12 years, but depends on several factors.

"It depends on the route," Asbill said. "We travel about 1,700 miles a day in our buses. Some will have short routes, others go through Shell Knob, Eagle Rock, or Golden. Those are twice-per-day round trips. Some we will try to rotate between longer and shorter routes. We look at the mechanics and rotate those units out based on those factors."

Asbill said rotation also depends on the depreciation schedule.

"Since we got into five buses this last lease, we're trying to get in a new rotation," he said.

"There will be three to five buses on this three-year cycle. Once we finish that, we'll have our fleet updated and there will be less need to trade in our buses. Then, it will be every five years at that point. The current lease is three years, and new lease is three years.

"By doing that, we're actually picking up that rotation to get our buses newer and once that occurs we'll be able to go back to a five-year cycle because we'll have a newer fleet. A newer fleet means less maintenance costs, and we'll be getting it newer than it has been in several years."

The district normally trades in five buses every three years, but one had a cracked engine block.

"Since there was no trade-in value on that bus, we'll sell it for parts," Asbill said. "It will be salvaged out for scrap or a bus company will salvage it out what's left of it."

The new buses will be built in September and the district will get them in October.

"There's usually a 45-60 day turn around on ordering new buses," Asbill said.

The lease-purchase will conclude in October.

"Security Bank of Cassville had assisted the district with providing a low-interest lease-purchase option and offered to do a second one at a low-interest lease-purchase," Asbill said. "We started a lease-purchase on the first five buses. That last payment is this October. We'll make that payment on the five buses we've already had and pay that off. Then we'll get the new buses in October and that will start the new three-year lease."

The AngelTrax camera systems that were on the old buses will be installed in the new ones.

"All of our buses have security cameras on them," Asbill said. "About a year ago, we started putting in a system called AngelTrax CoPilot camera system. It has a security system but a camera on the driver as well as the front of bus.

"It helps with our stop arm violations, which are mandated by state law," Asbill said. "We'll have vehicles that meet buses that don't stop. We've put on AngelTrax cameras, which gives us a front view of what the driver is seeing. We can look and see what was going on around the bus at that time. Everything is synced, so when we look back at the security cameras we can see what the driver is seeing at that particular point.

"We also have GPS and are able to track our buses. If there's a referral from the driver for an issue on the bus, the footage can be pulled for that, too."

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