The bus fleet for the Streetsboro City Schools got a much-needed shot in the arm April 3, when the School Board met to approve the lease of two buses.
The lease agreement for two buses with Myers Lease, A Division of Myers Equipment Corp., was approved in a 4-0 vote during the School Board's April 3 meeting.
Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said the district needs the buses to get through the end of the year.
"These will be our reserves," he said. "They'll just be used for athletic events and field trips."
The addition of two buses gives the district three "reserve" buses. The reason the new buses won't be used on regular routes is that there's is a cost per mile of 28 cents, per the contract the School Board approved. There's also a weekly cost of $387 per vehicle.
Two buses recently went down, one with a $3,000 "powerpack" repair needed and the other with a blown engine, which would cost $10,000 to $12,000 to fix, said Daulbaugh, adding that the age of the bus with the blown engine means it's likely not worth fixing.
The breakdowns were caused by a combination of the cold winter and age of the buses, he said.
Daulbaugh said there are 21 buses running regular routes, and now 24 buses total, including the three "reserves."
The average age of the district's buses is 11 years, and 15 are more than 12 years old, he added.
"The bottom line is, the age of our fleet is to the point where we need to take some aggressive action," said Daulbaugh.
He said he hopes the district will buy five buses during the next school year and buy one bus each year after that. He estimated the cost of a basic school bus at $80,000 and said the district would be able to use permanent improvement funds for the purchases.
Daulbaugh credited the district's mechanics with making the buses last as long as they have.
"Our mechanics are top-notch," he said, calling them "proactive" rather than reactive, regularly performing maintenance, extending the buses' lives.