After dealing with break downs and repairs, School District 10 has been given the all clear by the Ministry of Education to purchase two new buses.
The school board received word at the most recent school board meeting on Nov. 24., but the official letter came on Dec. 3.
“Each year the school districts in the province put in requests for buses,” said Terry Taylor, Superintendent for SD 10. “There’s sort of a general formula that once the bus reaches 12 or 13 years old, the bus is replaced.”
One bus has reached its 12-13 year capacity. The other, a propane bus, has only been in service since 2008, but has had numerous problems over the years. Its engine has had to be replaced four times.
Taylor said the board is very happy with the ministry’s decision.
“We’re very pleased that the Ministry has a recognition of what dire need we’re in of functional buses, and that will make a big difference in terms of student safety. This will help immeasurably.”
The two buses that have been approved are ones with the standard 72-passenger limit. The board has been receiving input from the community and recognizes that sometimes certain areas in the district have smaller class sizes and a smaller bus usage.
“Our manager of operations has been doing a lot of different research with a variety of different companies, options and what are the best factors to support two buses for our school district.” said Taylor.
The plan is to buy one bus with a 72 seat capacity, and also buy a smaller bus, one that could seat 26 passengers, but that is still heavy duty and well-designed. This smaller bus would be used for the Edgewood school route. The other bus will most likely be used in the Nakusp area.
Art Olson, manager of operations for SD 10, is pleased with the news, and said the new buses with help with reliability in a major way.
“Reliability will be a big thing. We have one bus that doesn’t run because it’s been down for three years with blown motors, so that will give us another bus that we can add to our fleet in case we run into problems,” he said.
“Being new buses, we’re expecting raw ability out of them, so we won’t have to worry as much about break downs. They’ll have warranties, and they’re upgrading from the 12 year old buses that we have.”