District 303 spends nearly $2 million on new buses, minivans

The school board in St. Charles Unit District 303 voted this week to spend almost $2 million on new buses and minivans.

Board members on Monday approved the purchase of 17 new school buses for over $1.6 million and eight minivans for up to $300,000 in a unanimous vote without discussion.

Earlier this month, Chief Operating Officer Justin Attaway presented the request to the board. He told board members that the district has fallen behind on vehicle replacement and will have to buy about 17 buses annually 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 has 130 school buses, and the administration recommends replacing buses purchased between 2010 and 2015.

The district will spend $1,657,500 to buy 17 Blue Bird 71-passenger gasoline buses from Central States Bus Sales.

The administration also requested the purchase of several minivans for special education transportation. Attaway said the district needs to establish a fleet of 10 to 15 minivans and hopes to buy at least eight this year.

The school board voted to grant administration purchase authority for eight minivans for up to $300,000. Attaway said because the need for the vans is urgent, the district is exploring options for purchasing slightly used vans from local dealerships.

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