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GUILDERLAND: Board hears bus proposal

Those same high standards are applied to the entire bus.

"You can't have so much as a bulb out," said Sanders.

Board president Richard Weisz inquired about the need for 24 spare buses. Sanders said that since the DOT needs to inspect each bus twice a year, and it is such an involved process, five or six buses are usually prepped for, and awaiting, inspection. Additionally, seven or more buses may be receiving maintenance, anywhere from two to eight are reserved to transport sports teams, and others may have to go back to the manufacturer for repairs the district's garage can't do itself.

"Oftentimes we're fairly depleted in terms of spare buses at any given time," said Sanders.

Board member Denise Eisele asked Sanders to clarify the addition of the 24-passenger buses, which are adaptable for wheelchair use.

Sanders said the buses are capable of handling five wheelchair stations or 24 passengers and any configurable combination in between.

"Would they reconfigure that on a need basis," asked Eisele.

"Yes. Really what it means is as our needs change during the course of the year or from year to year, we're able to reconfigure this bus and use it in different ways, and it doesn't lock us in," said Sanders.

Weisz said he would like to see a more detailed breakdown on the need, and use of, spare buses and the need to keep the active fleet at its current size.

"I don't know if I'm really satisfied with buying 11 buses this year particularly when we see a projection of fewer kids going forward," said Weisz. "If our five-year plan is to shrink the district by 10 percent , we would think the number of buses we need would shrink also, and I don't see anything in our plan that reflects that."

The board could move forward by adding the bus purchases to the 2007-2008 budget as early as the next board meeting. The preliminary budget would be approved by the board in April and by the public at the budget vote on May 15.""

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