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
Transportation Manager Cathy Forszt proposed the District acquire some
gas-powered buses instead of diesel buses as a cost-saving measure.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
reminded parents that kindergarten roundup is March 7 from either 3 to 5
p.m. or 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
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
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.
was recognized for its Launch program--one of only 214 elementary schools in
the Country in receipt of that distinction.
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.