St. Charles District 303 to spend almost $2 million on vehicles

St. Charles Unit District 303 school board members will vote to spend almost $2 million on buses and minivans at their meeting next week.

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

District 303 Chief Operating Officer Justin Attaway told the board 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 the administration is recommending the replacement of every bus purchased between 2010 and 2015, which will be 17 this year.

Administration recommended purchasing 17, 2023 Blue Bird 71-passenger 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 year 2025 budget.

Board members recommended moving the purchase agreement forward for possible approval at the Monday meeting.

The 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 is 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 likely would have a five-year replacement cycle.

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

Board members moved to recommend approval of the mini-van purchases, which also will go before the school board for possible approval on Monday.

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