Voters to decide on leasing school buses

As part of the May 17 budget vote, voters will also consider a proposition
that would allow the Schuylerville Central School District to start leasing
its school buses, rather than purchasing
them.

“The idea is to maximize our transportation aid dollars while maintaining an up-to-date fleet,” said Business Manager Marian Chrisman. “Leasing provides the perfect blend of this concept with the least impact to taxpayers.”

The district owns 37 vehicles, including 35 buses and two vans. Under
the proposition, the district would replace all current buses with new
ones over the next two years through two separate leases. The total cost to
taxpayers would be less than if the district followed its standard plan of
purchasing two to four vehicles a year.

“The difference is the state transportation aid,” Chrisman said. “The aid is paid each year of a lease payment whereas a purchase is paid over five years.”

Under the proposal, a five-year lease of 12 vehicles would cost the district
$184,300 per year. About 75 percent of that cost would be reimbursed through transportation aid each year. Compare that to the district’s typical purchase of three vehicles, which would cost $242,136. The district estimates that leasing would save more than $343,000 over five years and would provide a
newer fleet.

“During fact-finding on the pros and cons of leasing, other area business officials and transportation supervisors emphasized the positive impact of leasing on their districts, both from financial impact to reliability of the fleet,” said Transportation Supervisor Don Young.

Under the proposal, after the fiveyear lease ended, the district would have the option of purchasing the vehicles or entering a new lease to begin the replacement cycle again.

“Having a new fleet will allow us to reduce and simplify our parts inventory, eliminate large repairs as the buses are all warrantied for five years, and cut down on fuel usage due to the new industry standards regarding emissions,”said Chuck Barss, head mechanic for the district.