St. Charles School District to spend almost $2 million on vehicles

St. Charles School District 303 Board members will vote to spend almost $2 million on buses and minivans at their Feb. 12 meeting.

At the Feb. 5 Business Services Committee meeting, school board members heard a request from administration to buy 17 new school buses for over $1.6 million, and several mini-vans for up to $300,000.

D303 Chief Operating Officer Justin Attaway presented the request to the board. He told the board that the district has fallen behind on vehicle replacement, and will have to buy about 17 buses per year for the next few years to catch up.

Attaway said the district is working to implement an eight-year replacement cycle for vehicles. The district currently has 130 school buses, and administration is recommending the replacement of every bus that was purchased between 2010 and 2015, which will be 17 this year.

Administration recommended purchasing 17, 2023 Blue Bird 71-passenger gasoline buses from Central States Bus Sales, at $97,500 each, for a total of $1,657,500. This purchase would be paid from the fiscal 2025 budget.

Board members recommended moving the purchase agreement forward for possible approval at their Feb. 12 meeting.

Administration also requested the purchase of several mini-vans for special education transportation. Attaway said the district needs to establish a fleet of 10 to 15 mini-vans, and are hoping to buy at least eight this year.

Attaway said because the need for the vans is urgent, the district is exploring options for purchasing slightly used vans from local dealerships. He said the vans would be the first vehicles of their kind owned by the district, and would likely have a five-year replacement cycle.

Administration is requesting purchase authority for up to $300,000 for eight mini-vans. This purchase would be paid from the current fiscal 2024 budget.

Board members moved to recommend approval of the mini-van purchases, which will come before the school board for possible approval at their Feb. 12 meeting.