RIPLEY - Members of Ripley School Board were told at their regular meeting Thursday, Jan. 19 that the district could actually gain money in its long-term budget by initiating a five-year plan of replacing its buses.
Bill Daigler, a representative of NY Bus Sales, proposed the plan to board members in which buses would be traded in after five years of use to maximize their value. A new bus costs approximately $99,900 and its trade in value after five years is $21,430. While the district pays up front for a bus, it receives 90 percent reimbursement over five years from state monies, making its actual cost $10,000. Thus, a trade-in after five years would actually net the district $11,430, he said.
Many districts hang on to their buses for 10 to 12 years, after which the trade-in value is less than $2,000, Daigler said. Under his proposal, NY Bus Sales would take the bus after five years and guarantee the trade-in value.
Photo by David Prenatt
Bill Daigler from NY Bus Sales presented a plan Ripley Central School Board of Education on Thursday, Jan. 19 for the district to maximize the value of its buses.
During the five years, the bus would be under full warranty, Daigler said, including transmission, body, engine and chassis. Given an average regular maintenance cost of $4,000, a year per bus, which is also 90 percent reimbursed by the state, the district's average maintenance cost for each bus would be $400 a year.
Two of the school's seven buses are more than 10 years old. All of them would be replaced during the next five years under this plan. Head bus driver Linda Yukon advised the board to begin by purchasing two buses. She noted the older buses are having trouble complying with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation regulations.
Superintendent Karen Krause also indicated the plan was worth considering.
"It makes good business sense, you have safer buses for the kids and less problems with the D.O.T.," she said.
The board agreed to consider the plan's feasibility and reach a decision by its March meeting.
In other business, board president Robert Bentley reported that recent meeting of area districts to consider the possibility of combining into a regional high school "raised more questions than it answered." Still, the meeting was positive, he said. A regional school would not only save money for all districts involved, but would offer Ripley students many educational benefits, including 43 more classes than they currently have available, he said.
A great concern to many of those attending the meeting was job security, Bentley said. He noted the legislation required to create a district school is not yet in place.
Superintendent Krause said the reality of a regional school was still in question.
"It has been a lot of work and there some exciting opportunities, but time will tell," she said.
Bentley also reported on a meeting with Rick Timbs from the R.G. Timbs Advisory Group Inc. regarding inequalities in distribution of state funds to school districts. Ripley is the sixth smallest school district in the state, and has approximately an $8 million budget. He pointed out school districts of comparable size from affluent counties such as Suffolk have budgets of more than $16 million. These schools receive more in state funds, he said. In recent funding cutbacks as well, these schools were cut less per student than the Ripley school district, he said.
"One of the big points with all of this is that those districts could absorb the cuts a lot easier in their tax base," he said. "Up in that area (Suffolk County) they don't seem to have a problem with small schools."
Bentley said he and other board members would be meeting with legislators on this issue soon.