By Martha Jacob –
Fayetteville-Perry Local School District recently purchased 3 school busses in its continuing efforts to keep its bus fleet updated.
John Gauche, bus supervisor for the district, admitted that the districts fleet needed to retire at least four of its busses which included a 1999, and 2000 model which had serious cross-member and framework issues.
“To repair these two busses we were looking at least $25,000 which would only be a temporary fix,” Gauche said, “We went three years without updating our fleet, where we used to retire the worst bus and buy a new one every year. But funding just wasn’t there. We bought a new one last year because the state took one of our older busses off the road.
“A new 72 passenger transit bus cost somewhere around $80,000 and that’s just the basics. So Superintendent Jim Brady and I started vigilantly searching the web for replacement busses.”
Gauche said that he and Brady searched gov.deals.com on a daily basis, sometimes hourly and eventually saw that Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities had four handicapped accessible busses open for bids.
“I was out of town when Jim found the deals,” Gauche said. “We had very little funding to work with but we set a limit on how high we were willing to bid.
“We sent our mechanic up to check the four busses out and found them to be in excellent condition, probably kept in a bus garage their whole life. The bidding lasted a few days and during that time we stayed right with it upping our bids when we were outbid.”
In the end Fayetteville-Perry School District came out the winners. They won three busses for a total investment of $37,200.
The first bus was a 2009 Freightliner fully equipped for two wheelchairs which the end bid was $15,900. The bus was in excellent condition.
The second bus was also a 2009, Freightliner purchased for $15,400 and a 2004, 3-wheelchair capacity purchased for $5,900.
“That was such a great deal for our district,” Gauche said. “These were top of the line buses that we got for a fraction of what they would have cost us, had we bought them outright.
“The purchase of these three busses allowed us to get rid of 4 of our oldest busses which were past investing any money in to. We sold the four busses for $9,754 which was deducted from what we paid, leaving a total pay-out for 3 busses at $27,448, saving the district thousands of dollars.”
Superintendent Brady said two of the new busses are air conditioned, something new for the district.
“We’re real excited about these new busses,” Brady said, “They’re just in great condition and hopefully we will get many more years out of them.”
Brady added that another new bus is scheduled for purchase next year