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Board weighs buses, educational materials

The Superior School Board on Monday moved forward a proposal to purchase two new propane-fueled buses. To offset the cost, the Superior school district will trade in four diesel models that had been out of use due to problems with particulate fil...

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The Superior School Board on Monday moved forward a proposal to purchase two new propane-fueled buses.

To offset the cost, the Superior school district will trade in four diesel models that had been out of use due to problems with particulate filters. The final quote for the pair of 2018 Blue Bird propane-powered buses, deducting the trade-in, is $159,321.

Robert Morehouse, Board treasurer, questioned if the school district was getting a fair trade-in value on the four 2009 Blue Birds.

The district was offered $21,500 total for the four buses.

"I feel like you could take them to a scrapyard and get more," Morehouse said.

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Transportation director Chad Jensema said the price offered by United Truck Body - $5,375 per vehicle - was "quite fair."

All of the scrap yards he consulted offered less than $5,000 apiece for the buses.

Jensema said propane-fueled buses are shown to be reliable in cold climates and will save on fueling costs over time. Propane is also a cleaner-burning fuel than diesel, which means fewer emissions.

Board vice president Christina Kintop said she was pleased to see the district investing in buses that are better for the environment.

"I remember this was discussed twice before, but it was never cost-effective," she said.

The cost per unit for the new 71-passenger propane buses is $90,411, but with the deduction for the trade-ins, the school district will end up paying $79,661 per bus.

In April 2016, the Board considered an order for pre-owned, 2016 diesel buses. The cost per unit for those 74-passenger vehicles was $84,685.

If the School Board gives final approval at its meeting Monday for the purchase of the propane buses, Jensema will evaluate plans to fuel them from the propane tank and Superior Middle School. If that proves unfeasible, the new propane tank at Superior High School will be utilized.

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In other business:

Superior School Board members also approved a more than $1 million expenditure Monday for new textbooks and class resources.

The majority of the money went toward new elementary school math and literacy resources, which were up for replacement under the school district's seven-year replacement cycle. The new literacy textbooks cost about $611,000, while the new math materials cost about $359,000.

With the purchase, all elementary schools will finally be using the same literary resource. Schools had used different resources for the past 11 years.

The purchase order also included textbooks for four high school science classes up for replacement on the seven-year cycle and CPR training devices for physical education classes.

The remaining $28,000 went toward resources for three new high school business and technology classes. That figure could drop to $19,000 if the school district is awarded a grant that will help pay for a plasma cutter and welder.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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