Kids may not notice that “new car” smell, but many Washington Township students will be riding in brand new buses at the start of the 2014-15 school year.
The Washington Township Board of Education approved the expenditure of $362,764.52 at its Tuesday night meeting, which will provide three new full size buses and one van.
Full size buses hold 54 passengers, while the van holds 24. Each full size bus had a price tag of $100,361.24, and the van comes with a cost of $61,680.80 – all of which are being built this spring, and are expected to be delivered to the district over the summer.
The buses replace aging vehicles in the current fleet, which have been in use for 12 years, transportation director Paul Henry said. While the state has an age limit of 15 years on buses, Henry has recommended to the board that the district use a 10-year replacement schedule.
“Because we use so many ice control agents and because of the geography we have here, our buses need to be replaced sooner than other towns,” Henry said. “We have under carriages that rust out and gas tanks that end up rusting through earlier than 15 years. Even at 12 years it’s pretty severe.”
The new buses will be “transit style,” Henry said, meaning the vehicle will have a flat front.
That price tag of $362,764.52 will be split between the current year’s budget and next four budget cycles, business administrator Liz George said. The buses will be on a 5-year lease, with the lease starting when the buses are delivered. Once each vehicle is paid off, they will be solely owned by the district.
The buses won’t just be for the Washington Township School District, either, as the K-8 has a jointure with the West Morris Regional High School District as well. Students at West Morris Central will be using the new wheels as well. By way of annual contract, the high school district pays into the replacement of vehicles, Henry said.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the cost of the vehicles would be split between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 budget cycles.