Wednesday, September 20, 2017

May 6 Bond Proposal Includes 77 School Buses, Maintenance Vehicles

schoolbusesCarroll school officials say the May 6 school bond election includes funding to purchase 74 buses, two suburbans and a mechanic’s truck over a five-year period.

The May 6 single proposition ballot includes $208 million in projects at every CISD facility, including $1 million in renovations to the CISD Transportation Center, as well.

Carroll ISD transports about 3,500 students a total of 2,000 miles back and forth to school daily. In addition, the district logs about 1,500 extracurricular trips during the school year. The district operates its own bus transportation system and employs about 67 drivers and monitors.

CISD currently has 19 buses that are 13 years or older and another 48 that are 9 to 10 years old. CISD Transportation Director Ranjan George said a 2017 77-passenger school bus is estimated to cost $95,000.  If legislation requiring seat belts on buses passes, school officials expect the cost of each new bus to increase by about $12,000 each. The use of seat belts on buses has been debated through the years. According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are the safest way to transport students to and from school, and are carefully designed on a different transportation and protection model than the average passenger car.

“The children are protected like eggs in an egg carton – compartmentalized, and surrounded with padding and structural integrity to secure the entire container,” according to the ASBC website. “The seat backs are raised and the shell is reinforced for protection against impact.” The site goes on to explain that bus seats must accommodate different sizes of riders, from preschool to teens and involve “passive restraint.” Although there is a strong movement to include seat belts on school buses going forward, there is also a prevailing thought that one driver could not help free all student passengers trapped in a seat belt if the vehicle is involved in an accident. Seat belt use on a fully-loaded bus would also be difficult to enforce.

Carroll ISD officials are monitoring legislation and will purchase buses with seat belts in the future if the law passes.

As a property-wealthy district, Carroll ISD does not receive transportation funding from the state. Instead, CISD charges a bus rider fee to transport students. There is a family maximum provided to those with multiple riders. The district spends about $2.3 million on bus transportation each year.

During their year-long review, the Capital Needs Planning Committee (CNPC) heard presentations from the Transportation Department on current bus and vehicle inventories, fleet age, route counts, student rider trends and the pros and cons of buying diesel buses. The $208 million bond proposition before voters includes $7.5 million to phase in bus and maintenance vehicle purchases. An additional $1 million is included in the bond estimates for work on the Transportation Center which opened in 2001. The transportation center work would include restrooms, lighting, electrical, alarms, parking lot, fencing, and technology.

Bus purchases would be phased in over the five-year life of the bond program. The proposal includes purchases of special education buses and maintenance vehicles, as well. Future route buses would be unleaded and all buses purchased for trips would be diesel models.

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The complete PowerPoint presentation to the Capital Needs Planning Committee is available on the Capital Needs Planning Committee page. Simply click on the Transportation Presentation to see more details. Early voting in the 2017 School Bond Election ends at 7 p.m. today, May 2. Early voting takes place on the third floor of Southlake Town Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 and May 2. More than 2,000 voters have participated in early voting since April 24.

Election day voting is by precinct from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Click here to see voting precinct locations.

 

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