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$362K Approved for New School Buses in Washington Twp.

Three full-size buses, one van will replace older models in current fleet.

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.

Not Domino February 06, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Out of curiosity, does anyone know how often the buses get washed during the winter? Or at least rinsing off the undercarriage? I would think that blasting the underside with water every week or so might extend the life expectancy. Also, maybe spraying some protective paint under there when the bus is new?? My 1989 BMW was treated that way, and shows no signs of rust at all despite all these years of winter driving.
Not Jeff February 06, 2014 at 02:34 PM
Well there is the first cost of the no additional cost for full day kindergarten. 2 buses for full day kindergarten. There are an additional 80 to 100 children that have to be transported everyday first thing in the morning. That is what was reflected from the BOE.
Shoeless Joe February 06, 2014 at 09:40 PM
The one I'm waiting for is: "BOE Votes To Turn Millions of Slush Dollars Into Singles, Roll Around Naked In Them."
Not Jeff February 07, 2014 at 06:50 AM
Jason are they leased or did the district purchase them? It says lease at end of story but a little research says a new one cost about 100k.
wt-taxpayer February 07, 2014 at 07:42 AM
i wonder if the twp gets any money for the old ones? or does the cost include the trade-in value? was this expenditure planned for in previous years 'open door' discussions? seems they 'spring' expenditures on the twp. with very little input for the way it inpacts the taxpayer… would be nice to think that this was part of the thought process. i agree with not domino - care makes a difference. i have a car that's well over the bus age and it is not rusted - so, it may be a good idea to get these undercarriages cleaned & painted and plans made for the others to be better maintained so they last. being responsible to the pursestrings makes us less resentful when they 'dig in' and help themselves to what they perceive is a 'bottomless pit'…
Demsey Dustbunny February 07, 2014 at 08:56 AM
Jason, can you please explain why the administration leases the busses for 5 years with the intent to keep them over 10?
Hookerman February 07, 2014 at 09:15 AM
How does all day kindergarten cause additional wear and tear on busses? Whether a kindergarten session is half day or full day, the busses still have to take the kids there and bring them home.
History WT February 07, 2014 at 10:08 AM
erm....wash the damn salt off them once in awhile, Paul. Shouldn't be losing 100k buses to Jersey Rot. That's negligence.
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) February 07, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Thanks for the comments, everyone. We've clarified the lease vs. own option in the text. Thanks!
LV Common Sense February 07, 2014 at 10:55 AM
I think they meant loan, not lease. And I agree, wash and seal the undercarriage. The roads in this town are falling apart. I'd rather see more re-paving than shiny buses.
Not Domino February 07, 2014 at 12:22 PM
So it sounds like it is a 5 year lease with a pre-determined balloon payment at the end of the lease so that the township will then purchase them and become the owner at that time.
LV Common Sense February 07, 2014 at 12:46 PM
Jason: I don't see any change to the text in the article about the lease. This statement doesn't make sense: "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." You don't own a vehicle at the end of a lease. It's either a loan (as opposed to a lease), or a lease with a balloon payment at the end.
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) February 07, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Thanks for the comment, LV Common Sense. We verified this information with the school district this morning. They are calling it a lease (that's why we reported it that way). There is no balloon payment at the end (that's why it's not mentioned). The overall cost mentioned in the article will be broken down into each of those five budget cycles. The paragraph you mentioned WAS altered, including the number of years it will take to pay for the vehicles. Hope this helps!
Guy Patterson February 07, 2014 at 01:03 PM
Probably a $1 Buyout – The lessee fulfills payment requirements for the duration of the lease, and once final payment is made along with $1.00, the lessee become the owner of the equipment.
Howdy February 07, 2014 at 06:30 PM
There has to be something that can be done to extend the lifetime of these busses. The lifespan of a MTA bus in NYC is 12-15 years and they are in use all day, all year. School busses are used ~6 hours per day for less than half of the year.
wt-taxpayer February 07, 2014 at 09:58 PM
well, howdy - you're saying some very practical statements here - maybe the MTA needs to come in to review the procedures of our school board in the way it spends other peoples' money like it - well, was an endless pot of 'other peoples' money'.... ?? i really think there has to be a double, triple reviewing process on this - because seems EVERYTHING this BOE does requires a little bit more oversight when it comes to decision making & 'OPM' ...
Guy Patterson February 07, 2014 at 11:48 PM
Comparing lifespans of $100K school buses with public transportation buses costing 3 to 5 times as much, are we? Brilliant! Maybe some people need to think before they post. http://www.proterra.com/images/WVU_FinalReport.pdf
History WT February 08, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Jason, what is the mileage like on the buses they are retiring?
Howdy February 08, 2014 at 01:57 PM
Guy Patterson, maybe we should think before we post about the cost of electric-hybrid buses in 2007? Were you drunk or did you actually think that was a relevant post?
Guy Patterson February 08, 2014 at 02:13 PM
Only one of the four bus types in the report is an diesel electric hybrid. The other three use conventional fossil or bio fuels.
Demsey Dustbunny March 21, 2014 at 05:17 PM
I hate to bring up an old thread, but what are done with the retired busses? And a follow up.. Is that income reflected in the budget as well?

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