CLIFTON PARK: Shen pushes for new buses

At the Tuesday, Feb. 27, meeting, the Shenendehowa board of education discussed replacing several school buses for a cost of about $1.4 million. According to the district's chief financial officer, Susan Martin, it would cost taxpayers $4 more to replace 14 large school buses and small vans.

It would be a bonded debt payable over five years, she said.

During a presentation, Shenendehowa director of transportation David Christopher recommended replacing seven large yellow school buses, five vans, and two buses with wheelchair lifts to keep pace with district needs and do away with several buses that are older than industry standards recommend. Additionally, he said that the district faces a challenge with older buses that cost more to repair than they are worth.

"We should go with $1.4 million so we keep pace with buses needed," said Christopher.

Additionally, Christopher said, purchasing new buses would provide students with the latest safety features and meet new 2007 and 2010 emissions standards.

Several board members agreed with Christopher's recommendations, acknowledging that the Shenendehowa Central School District has consistently contained trans-portation costs to around 55 cents per mile. "Costs are consistent with what they have spent the past few years," said board president William Casey.

The board will discuss moving bus purchases to a referendum at its March 27 meeting.

In other news, the board of education approved a 3.5 percent cost-of-living salary increase, effective Feb. 1, for 13 administrative staff who are competitive civil service employees.

"Though you get sticker shock when you see these salaries, they are comparable to state service and considerably low," said Casey.""

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