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MAC plans bus upgrades

BY Paige Conley - pconley@perutribune.com

Maconaquah School Corporation is not only making plans, but upgrades to their transportation system as they work on a five-year plan to replace old buses.

According to Maconaquah Superintendent James Callane, the school traditionally replaces three buses a year with the $358,320 they receive for their bus replacement fund.

While the school still plans to replace three 2005 model buses next year, the bus replacement fund is no longer a separate fund and has moved into the operations fund.

The operations fund, according to Callane, is a fund consisting of several areas including transportation, debt service, capital projects and so on which provides the school with more flexibility in how they use the money.

“Prior to this coming year, money had to be used on bus replacements and maintenance agreements that went along with the bus agreement,” Callane said. “Now we have what's called an operations fund, and that can be used for a multitude of different things.”

Even though the school has a five-year plan which includes replacing three buses a year starting with the oldest buses, the money can be used elsewhere if the need arises.

For instance, if the money allotted for bus replacement was needed elsewhere then the school would only replace two buses one year instead of three. Likewise, the school would pull money from another fund if four buses needed to be replaced.

“Those dollars can be used in other areas to support the operation,” Callane said.

However, for right now, the school is sticking to their plan of replacing three buses a year which ultimately saves them money in the long run.

“We have to inspect buses every year,” Callane said. “The state police inspect our buses every year and any bus that is 12 years or older has to be inspected twice a year.”

This means that, on top of maintenance and other work that may need to be done to the buses throughout the year, the school also has to pay for an inspection twice for some buses.

With the replacement of older buses, the school saves money on a second inspection as well as other issues that might arise with an old bus.

“We've been very fortunate to have a solid bus replacement fund and a plan that enables us to replace three buses a year, which helps us get the older ones off the road and the newer ones on the road,” Callane said.