Streetsboro -- In an attempt to be proactive, the school district will resume its practice of buying buses each year to offset buses wearing out, said Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh.
"The age of our [21-bus] fleet is a little bit of a concern," he said at the Jan. 9 Streetsboro Board of Education meeting. "We are actively talking about addressing that need."
As part of the program, Daulbaugh said the district would "purchase or acquire a bus or two every year over the next few years."
"We had gotten away from that over the last few years due to financial difficulties," he said.
Daulbaugh said school leaders would discuss in the spring when buses will be purchased.
The topic of buses arose following the district using two snow days on Jan. 7-8 "because of extreme cold temperatures for the safety of our students standing at bus stops."
The price of the buses was not available.
Jan. 7 was supposed to be students' first day back in class following winter break, due a faculty in-service day Jan 6.
Daulbaugh said Streetsboro, along with many districts in the area, could not start many of its buses, due to the intense cold.
"It wasn't just a Streetsboro [issue]," he said.
He said nine of Streetsboro's 21 buses would not start on one of the snow days.
"The day before, throughout the day, our mechanics were trying to start all the buses," Daulbaugh said. "But as it got colder, they couldn't address it. By about 4 p.m., the mechanics were obviously frozen, and we lost the battle with several of our buses."
Daulbaugh said even if a bus was operating properly, air brake valves can freeze up in extreme cold temperatures, and there is a chance that a bus might stop and not be able to start up again.
"Had we gotten those buses on the road, there was a real risk that every single time [a bus] stopped, we might not have been able to move that bus forward," he said.
School Board member Kevin Grimm said he was impressed with how proactive Streetsboro's school transportation department mechanics were in trying to get the school buses started.
"The thing I was most impressed with was that our staff of mechanics was out being proactive," Grimm said. "We weren't the only ones who were experiencing this [buses not starting]. I give our staff [of mechanics] credit for being proactive."
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