While students, parents and teachers enjoy spring break, the transportation staff was busy driving four brand new school buses from Marshall, Mich., to Saline.
The four IC-77 school buses mean the district has added 16 new buses since voters approved approved a $67.5 million bond proposal in 2016.
“We hope to purchase 32 new buses by 2024,” said Rex Clary, Director of Operations for Saline Area Schools.
Al of the buses will include a new GPS and communications systems. They also include:
- Electronic stability control to help mitigate rollovers or loss of control on a wide variety of road conditions.
- A driver alert system.
- Added protective coating and rust prohibitors.
Each bus costs about $95,000. With the extended 10-year warranty, cameras, GPS and communications system, the total cost is about $102,000.
The bus replacement program is improving the district’s fleet.
In 2016, the district had just four buses that were seven years old or younger. Today there are 16 buses that are three years old or younger. In 2016, 39 of the district’s buses were at least 12 years old. Today, that number is down to 13, according to Clary.
There are 46 buses in the Saline fleet. The district runs 31 routes to and from school. And during the busy spring sports season, the district could have as many as 12 athletics trips taking place during the afternoon drop-off. On a particularly busy day, there could be 43 buses in service.
Saline’s school bus drivers have already made their maiden voyage. The Marshall-based school bus dealership couldn’t provide drivers Wednesday, so they paid Saline Area Schools drivers to ride in a van an drive them back to Saline.
As always, the district is hiring bus drivers and substitute drivers. Click here for more information.