By MAX FILBY
Findlay school board decided Monday to replace a portion of the district’s bus fleet.
The board approved purchasing six new school buses at $78,277 each, totaling $469,662, from Rush Truck Centers, a U.S. network of heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships.
The district uses about 50 buses.
Money for the new buses will come from the district’s permanent improvement account, which is funded by a levy, Superintendent Dean Wittwer said.
“We haven’t bought any new buses in a few years, but rotating them in and out is pretty typical,” Wittwer said.
The district held off on buying new buses in the past few years while it was constructing two new middle schools and a centralized Millstream Career Center.
Each bus will hold 71 passengers, and four of the six buses will have luggage storage centers below the main passenger area. Wittwer said the district intends to use those buses to help transport high school band equipment and larger necessities for other district programs.
The school board also agreed to put the renewal of a 5.9-mill operating levy on the May ballot.
The current five-year levy expires at the end of 2014.
The duration of the proposed levy has not been decided. Wittwer said he would like to see it become a continuing levy, so the district does not have to repeatedly ask voters to renew the tax.
The levy brings in $4.7 million a year for the district, said Mike Barnhart, Findlay schools treasurer.
Levy revenue is used for routine expenses such as teacher salaries and benefits, buying textbooks, equipment and supplies, and paying for utilities, transportation and maintenance.
“It’s absolutely essential that we pass this,” Wittwer said. “We aren’t asking for any more than before. We can live within our means and sustain ourselves with this.”
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