Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools stays under budget on bus buy

Back To Front Page



The Duneland School Board approved 2019 bus purchases at its meeting Monday night--the vehicles, outfitted with the latest camera technology, came in under budget per the District’s bus replacement plan.

The purchases total $916,952 for 11 vehicles. The bus replacement plan projected an expense of $1,161,540 for 2019 replacements, putting the purchases under budget by $244,500.

Duneland Transportation Manager Cathy Forszt proposed the District acquire some gas-powered buses instead of diesel buses as a cost-saving measure.

“The major deviation from what we’ve done in the past is gas buses instead of diesel.” said Forszt. “With diesel buses, we’ve experienced an unusual amount of high repair costs.”

Forszt said the repairs are often to the aftermarket treatment systems used to control diesel exhaust, per federal regulations, and can cost thousands per bus.

According to Forszt, acquiring gas buses is cheaper up front, gas buses will run better in the winter and heat up faster, and there will be no costs associated with repairing or maintaining aftermarket treatment systems. Forszt said she believes those cost savings will make up for diesel buses getting better fuel mileage over the years.

Board member Kristin Kroeger asked how acquiring gas buses could change the District’s bulk purchases of fuel. Forszt said the District already buys gas for its special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and trucks. Storage is already dedicated for it, and there’s an existing stock of it.

Kroeger suggested Forszt track the maintenance costs, fuel purchases, and mileage to compare costs next year.

Board Secretary Ron Stone said he understands the switch because his company has recently started switching from diesel to gas engines. They’ve also noticed increasing repair costs and are getting more longevity out of their gas vehicles.

Forszt noted that the new 1080hp HD cameras on the buses will work with Duneland’s current video review system. Each new bus will have a dash cam, two stop-arm cameras, and four interior cameras with 360-degree lenses, offering views of the whole bus from front to back and down into the seats.

With trade-ins deducted, the cost for seven 66-passenger buses from IC/Collins was $82,132 each, the cost for two 84-passenger buses from Thomas was $117,318 each, and the cost of two SPVs from Starcraft was $107,392 total. The cost to outfit each bus with cameras (included in quotes) was $2,275 per bus from 247 Security Cameras.

PR/Superintendent’s Comments

Duneland PR Director Bridget Martinson announced that Duneland will partner with the Foodbank of Northwest Indiana to host a mobile marketplace food distribution at Westchester Intermediate, entrance five, Thursday, March 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. Martinson said those coming to the distribution are asked to provide proof of Indiana residency and bring boxes or bags to carry their items. The distribution will be on a first-come, first-serve basis as supplies last.

Martinson also reminded parents that kindergarten roundup is March 7 from either 3 to 5 p.m. or 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Duneland Interim Superintendent Judy Malasto made a reminder that the third grading period is coming to a close and wished Duneland families and staff a safe spring break.

Malasto also announced that two Duneland Schools have been named distinguished schools for their implementation of Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Distinguished schools have 20 percent or more of their students grade-by-grade participating in PLTW programs.

Jackson Elementary was recognized for its Launch program--one of only 214 elementary schools in the Country in receipt of that distinction.

Chesterton Middle School was even more elite--recognized for its Gateway program. “Just 148 middle schools in the Country were given this honor, so its very exciting that we’re sustaining that program,” said Malasto.



Posted 3/6/2019




Search This Site:

Custom Search