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District bus purchase plan eyed

January 30, 2013 - Goodrich-An aging school bus fleet may soon have some upgrades.

On Monday night the school board moved forward with a plan to add three late model buses per year over the next three years. At a cost of about $80,000 per unit the district will purchase 2011 buses returned from leases with about 30,000-40,000 miles. A total of nine buses will be replaced over the next three years.

"I'm concerned our buses will not pass the Michigan State Police yearly inspection," said Scott Bogner, district superintendent. "Many of our routes are on dirt roads and that is very rough on the buses."

The district has five school buses that are at least 15-years-old and has not purchased a new bus since the 2007-2008 school year. In the past, the district have a schedule to replace buses on a regular basis. The buses will be financed for five years, taking advantage of the low interest rates currently available.

"The buses are falling apart," Bogner said. "They take a beating. There's not really any great alternative."

The Michigan State Police inspect school buses statewide each year beginning Sept. 1 and ending Aug. 3.

During the inspection procedure, buses found to be in an unsafe condition are given a "red tag." Michigan law requires the repair of all red tag items before placing that bus back into passenger service. A "yellow" tag indicates school buses found in an unsatisfactory condition, but safe for operation. According to the Michigan State Police, all 22 Goodrich district buses were inspected and considered to be in satisfactory condition during the third quarter of 2012.

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