St. Charles School Board members recommend purchase of new school buses

Students exit a school bus as they enter Hinckley-Big Rock Middle School that is part of School District 429 on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

St. Charles School District 303 board members approved the purchase of two new school buses at the Business Services Committee meeting Monday.

Chief Operating Officer Justin Attaway presented the administration’s recommendation to buy two 2023 Micro Bird 24-passenger lift buses from Central States Bus Sales out of Oswego. The buses cost $112,000 each for a total of $224,000.

The buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts, which Attaway said there is an immediate need for in the district. He said the administration made the recommendation because of the ongoing need for buses that can accommodate wheelchairs and the low availability of those buses on the market.

In order to offset some of the cost, the administration also recommended trading in six 2016 Chevrolet Collins buses, which Attaway said are no longer needed. Disposal of the six buses will not negatively impact the district’s daily transportation operations and the district will receive about $9,000 for each bus.

The recommended purchase is expected to go before the full board for a possible vote at the Sept. 11 meeting.

Attaway said the administration evaluates the need to replace buses and other transportation vehicles annually based on mileage and years of service. The district receives reimbursement from the state for the first five years the buses are in service, according to the agenda item.