– The Brookings School District is buying this 55-passenger charter bus, a 12-year-old model that carries a price tag of $92,500. Transportation Director Dave Lucas said he reasonably expects it to serve Brookings? schools for 15-20 years.
BROOKINGS – The charter bus Brookings School Board members agreed to purchase Monday is not new, but it is newer and much safer than "The Eagle," the Brookings School District's current charter bus.
While students were inside it about five years ago, the Eagle broke down in sub-zero weather coming back from North Dakota, said Superintendent Roger DeGroot. Replacing that bus was one of the first actions DeGroot was asked to take as Brookings superintend- ent when he joined the district five years ago.
"It's taken a while, we've had other priorities, and we've been looking," DeGroot said. "We've looked long and hard for a bus with similarly low miles on it." Can still travel 400K miles
The new charter bus already has about 642,000 miles to its credit, but BSD Transportation Director Dave Lucas said it should run for 1 million miles.
Because BSD puts an average of 16,000-19 ,000 miles on its buses each year, Lucas said the new bus should run 15-20 years for the district.
The bus was made in 2000 (the Eagle is a 1986 model) and has had just one previous owner, a charter bus company that is selling it to consolidate to just one style of bus.
The bus's transmission was rebuilt at about 500,000 miles. Its exterior has been newly painted and its interior refurbished .
The bus has a working bathroom on board. It also has great storage: overhead storage with doors for passengers, and open bin storage beneath that will hold even the track team's long vaulting poles.
The bus does include a TV DVD system with six monitors.
It holds 55 passengers, six more than the Eagle can accomodate .
Unlike the Eagle, this bus should transport students safely to West River events, Lucas added, whereas the district has been renting a bus if it needed to go west of the river in recent years. And, everyone should be more comfortable during the ride, because the bus has a total air ride suspension.
"The fatigue factor of driving this bus, it's going to be minimal," Lucas said. Everything checks out
Lucas and two bus drivers traveled to Faribault, Minn., to check out the bus, Lucas going personally twice. He had a mechanic look at it and also analyzed its engine oil; everything from the oil test was normal except for a high level of copper. Lucas said the copper has probably built up because of all the idling charter buses do.
The bus is currently white, but Business Manager Brian Lueders said it will have Bobcat logos and some red and black added, in the style of the district's other buses.
The board voted unanimously to purchase this bus. BSD will pay $92,000 to ABC Bus Inc. of Faribault for it. When asked by board members Monday, Lucas said a new charter bus would cost about $750,000.
As for the Eagle, it will be sold at a surplus auction in the near future.
Also Monday, the board:
• Postponed action on its proposed allergy policy, saying that DeGroot had received new input from patrons and the district would consider that information before acting on the policy . • Approved the Rutland School District to pick up openenrolled students at the Casey's General Store on Sixth Street West and Henry Avenue.
• Gave final approval to the revised policy on student assignment and non-resident admission. DeGroot said the changes provide caseload limits for special education staff. Contact Charis Prunty at email@example.com.