Bus purchases proposed to reduce maintenance costs

On May 15, voters will decide on the purchase of four new 71-passenger school buses, one 35-passenger bus and one Suburban at a total cost not to exceed $639,005. Each of the vehicles proposed to be replaced is at least 10 years old and has been driven an average of 148,155 miles.

Like any vehicle, as school buses age, they become more costly to maintain. This is especially true after they are in use for 10 years.

Because of this, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District has a plan in place to replace buses once they hit that milestone.

The state would reimburse the district over a five-year period for about 71 percent of the cost of the new vehicles. Local property taxes would pay the remainder of the cost, which would be $36,934 annually for five years. The district plans to auction the five buses to be replaced.

All school buses must pass a rigorous state inspection twice annually. For the 2016-17 school year, F-M buses had a 99.3 percent passing rate. F-M normally replaces its buses after 10 years, when it is no longer cost effective to make the repairs necessary to meet those standards. The district has found that it typically spends about $6,200 in repairs to a 10-year-old bus. That figure jumps to $10,500 in year 11 and $16,000 in year 12.

During the 2016-17 school year, F-M buses served 4,470 public and private school students, traveling a total of 780,463 miles.