The Central School District School Board at its April 4 meeting approved the lease of two additional 77-passenger buses to meet the requirement to phase out its old buses by 2025. The school board adopted the goal in 2015.
In other action, the school board also voted to upgrade the district’s aging and deteriorating security system and cameras.
Cec Koontz, director of finance and operations, presented the two agenda items to the school board.
“We have been very successful in moving towards our goal of replacing buses that are required to be off the road by 2025. The two 77-passenger vehicles are both propane which we have continued to have good luck with. The payments would commence in July at a favorable interest rate,” Koontz said.
The administrative staff report outlined that the school bus replacement fund allows for the transfer of funds from the general fund, providing resources for the payment of the principal and on lease-purchase obligations for school buses.
“The school bus replacement fund meets the state guidelines for using a portion of transportation reimbursement for bus replacement,” the staff report read. “To meet EPA’s deadline for 2025, the board has adopted a fleet replacement plan that includes an additional two buses this year on a seven-year lease-purchase agreement. That has allowed the district to commit to a vigorous replacement program.”
Koontz said the district’s biggest barrier is maintenance and working on them.
“But if our guys can’t work on them and from what we’ve heard, Western Bus who usually supplies their vehicles, won’t even work on them. They have to go to the international dealership at an international company like International Trucks to get work done.”
The School Board unanimously approved the lease.
Jason Clark, program planning and project manager, then addressed the need to replace the school district’s security camera system, which is deteriorating. Clark said he works on them, multiple times during the week depending on the scenario, from issues during the day to after hours.
“One of the things is our surveillance system is quite old. We have cameras at six of our eight buildings. They are there, but we have to do a lot of patchwork. Give our technology department some credit, as we work to keep them up and running,” he explained. “It is a job oftentimes. We will get a call from one of our community partners asking to look at the after-hours activity, and it is often hit or miss if it is going to be up and running and able to hold the footage and video or not.”
Koontz added the project would be paid through the student investment account budget, which she said has a “pretty decent balance” due to the district’s inability to hire vacant positions.
“The end date for projects for the student investment account is June 30. Reece indicates they can substantially complete this work by then as long as we can get them access to our buildings. But I also will be able to apply to the Oregon Department of Education to extend the expenditure of those funds through September.” Koontz said.
The administration has been shopping around for a new security system over the past 18 months and decided to go with Reece Security Solutions, which works with other school districts.
“We’re bringing this to you as a special procurement. We worked hard to get vendors to quote us over the last 18 months, and we found Reece. We found that they have a contract with the Hillsboro school district that has a cooperative purchasing agreement. We are guaranteed the exact pricing as these much larger districts. Hence, they were able to offer us that and, again, people to work with us to get this completed in a timely manner. We feel this system really will meet our needs. We will be able to grow in the future,” Koontz concluded.
Again, the school board unanimously approved the proposal.