DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools held a special meeting Monday night to discuss options for buying new buses. This comes after parents, staff and bus drivers raises concerns over students’ safety.
It got a little heated Monday night when the chairman of the district’s finance committee resigned from his post on the busing issue after he was outnumbered by votes. The committee approved a new resolution in a 2-to-1 vote.
“There’s been years of neglect,” Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Rhonda Corr said. “Our average bus is fifteen years old and our children deserve better.”
That’s why the district’s finance committee called a special meeting Monday, where they approved a resolution to lease or purchase–with a loan–115 new school buses under a budget of $2.6 million.
“We have to replace the hardware and moving forward there will be a plan in place,” Corr said. “So that each year we can start to replace 20 or 30 buses at a time.”
Currently, the district has a fleet of about 200 buses. The oldest bus is 27-years-old. The worn-down hardware is racking up major costs for the district.
“We have very high maintenance costs,” Board Member Adil Baguirov said. “We have very high operating costs. They’re not very fuel efficent. At this point they are morally obsolete. They present a lot of problems and safety risks.”
Along with safety concerns, the older busses also create delays, causing students to miss critical time in the classroom.
“It’s very hard to start them up in the morning,” Baguirov said. “And sometimes they would be breaking down. And sometimes the highway patrol would come in and would not allow them to run or deem them safe.”
The district is now weighing it’s options, searching for the cheapest and safest solution. The decision comes at a difficult time for the district. They’re currently in the negotiating process with 11 of their unions.
“We want to make sure that we can still offer something to our employees,” Corr said. “As well as we go through the process.”
The resolution they approved Monday, will be presented at Tuesday’s board meeting. They could vote on it.
The meeting is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Dayton Public School headquarters at 115 S Ludlow St, Dayton, OH 45402.
2 NEWS will be at the meeting and let you know what happpens.