HIGHTSTOWN: School board approves financing for new buses

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
HIGHTSTOWN – The East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education unanimously voted to approve to lease purchase financing of new district school buses during its meeting on Dec. 7.
“By law, each vehicle has a specific term of service that it can be on the road transporting students, as per Department of Education regulations,” said Business Administrator and Board Secretary Nicholas Puleio in an email on Tuesday.
The board approved a resolution to acquire eight new school buses through lease purchase financing in the amount not exceeding $750,000, according to the resolution. The lease would not exceed five years.
“The district is looking to replace eight of the 54-passenger buses whose average cost is $92,500,” he said, adding that all eight have to be off the road in the next three budget years.
The EWRSD owns and operates 67 buses and vans.
Mr. Puleio said to avoid spikes in the budget, the board is looking to buy three or four buses a year at a cost of $277,500 to $370,000 per budget year.
“The financing method accelerates the purchase and flattens the expense to about $167,000 per budget year,” he said. “Final financing will be based on bidding the financing, which the district will do in January.”
He said at least four of these buses would be on the road in September 2016. “The other four most likely after Jan. 1, 2017,” he said.
The district is looking to trade in or sell the eight buses it is looking to replace.
“The district will either get trade-in value or will sell them on a federally approved website as surplus,” he said. “In either case, the district will receive some money back, which will be dedicated to the transportation budget.”
Mr. Puleio said that the board would not know what the dollar amount is until going through the process.