New SC buses roll out, many more still needed | News
SC (WIS) – Students headed out to the bus stop may be boarding one of the
nearly 350 new buses in the state's fleet as the new additions continue to be
to officials with the Department of Education, nearly 200 of the 342 new buses
have been delivered, and they expect all of them to make it to their new
districts by the first week in February.
call the new buses a 'shot in the arm' because the last significant purchase for
the state fleet was four years ago. From upgraded safety features and air
conditioning to increased fuel efficiency, Department of Education Director of
Maintenance Mike Bullman says there's no comparing the old buses to the
"It means reliability," said Bullman. "It means the fact that
education starts with a bus ride, and we can't educate students without getting
them to school."
new buses replace buses from 1984 through 1987 and some in 1988, which amounts
to one-third of the special needs fleet. "We've had some tough economic times
so these are the first buses we've replaced since 2008," said Fritz Mason,
Public Information Coordinator for the Department of Education. Because of the
lack of funding, that also means state legislation from 2007 that says, ‘the State Board of Education shall implement a school bus
replacement cycle to replace approximately one-fifteenth of the fleet each year,
resulting in a complete replacement of the fleet every fifteen years' has been
need more buses," said Mason. "The older buses have to be replaced [and] we're
trying to phase out those buses as quickly as we possibly can."
says the new buses helped phase out 7 percent of the outdated buses, but adds
more than two-third's of the state's 5,630 buses (including spares) date back
to before 1998.
Superintendent Dr. Mick Zais has requested 34 million dollars for the coming
year to continue phasing out old buses. "Really it's that replacement cycle
that we need," said Bullman. "It allows us to manage the system and to project
and to not spend needless funds on buses that we'd be otherwise replacing."
the Department of Education waits to see if the legislature comes through, they
say they're still embracing the little bit of new they have now. "It feels
great," said Bullman. "It means so much to have the new buses. It means so much
to the students, the parents, and to the school administrators… it's just a
real big plus."
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