Thank you for coming to the parent meeting last night and thank you for your support of Lincoln's students, staff, and Board of Education!
Board meetings are open to the public and are held the first Monday of the month. If you would like to talk at the board meeting, please contact the Board office by noon on the Friday before the Monday Board meeting.
Information from the 4/27 public transportation meeting. First of all, our student’s safety must be our priority when recommending changes. Secondly, I would like to give you back ground information in regards to how the Board of Education decided to approve DS Bus Lines as our bus fleet carrier.
On October 29, 2015, I received an email from Keith Dreiling, Kansas Department of Education, State Director of the School Bus Safety Unit. In Mr. Dreiling’s email, he stated that “USD #298 Lincoln fell short of the school bus inspection process. Unfortunately, Lincoln USD #298 was brought to our attention as a district which was not prepared”. Mr. Dreiling forwarded the Kansas Highway Patrol bus inspection information as well. The Kansas Highway Patrol has to inspect and approve all school buses for use every school year. The Trooper who inspected our buses had to inspect them five times before they passed inspection, due to maintenance issues. The issues were partially the result of the age and high mileage of our fleet. The Trooper had this to say about our district, “I understand that there is an avenue that we can take to report Lincoln School District at the state level that will hold them accountable. I strongly recommend that we take this avenue”. This is not the first year that our district has been cited by the state regarding bus issues. This was the first year that this issue had been brought to the Board’s attention.
Our buses on average are 16 years old, the average mileage is 165,715 miles, with approximately 24,000 miles per bus driven yearly at a cost of $356,392 per year. This cost includes the purchase of a new bus. We would have to purchase a bus at a cost of approximately $81,000 each year for the next seven to nine years to replace our current fleet. In order to maintain our current fleet, we spend approximately $63,000 per year for bus maintenance.
To comply with KSDE’s request, bids were sought for new buses, leased buses and fleet services. Once bids were received, USD 298 could not afford to replace every bus at approximately $81,000 each, leased buses were affordable but with only 18,000 miles per year allowed on each bus, we would end up paying the additional cost of $.35 per mile for each mile over 18,000. Leasing individual buses was more expensive than purchasing a new bus for $81,000. Contracted fleet services were also cost prohibitive based on the bid specs. At this point in time, USD 298 hired DS Bus Lines to complete a transportation efficiency study that reviewed all aspects of the transportation program for safety and efficiency. Based on industry standards and best practices within the transportation industry, recommendations were made to comply with KSDE’s request.
The most cost effective alternative was to go with fleet services at a cost of no more than $327,125 per year. This would be a savings of at least $39,266 per year over what we currently spend.
The Board of Education approved DS Bus Lines, Inc. as the district’s bus service at the April 4th Board meeting. This has been a difficult decision for the Board and the decision was not taken lightly.