O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

School Board Bus Purchase


September 26, 2019

Opening the meeting, DeeAnn Lansink notified that school board that the 2018-29 budget has been certified including the transportation and special education reports.

The board had asked for bids for the purchase of a new bus. They received 2 bids. The bidders are Bluebird and Thomas. The purchase is scheduled for the 2021 budget year.

Both busses offer the same seating capacity, 84 with 78 seated, engine maker (Cummins), and transmission (Allison 2500PTS). The engine offered by Bluebird Both are equipped with air brakes and 4 luggage compartments. The air ride suspension systems are a bit different. The Bluebird features air ride front and back while the Thomas make has springs on the front and air ride in the back. Both bids include a free camera system and all extras are the same. The Bluebird price is $111,613. The Thomas price is $103,552. Thomas was also offering additional discounts with the purchase of two.

The discussion included commentary about each of the provider companies. Superintendent Dan Moore noted that it has been a number of years since South O'Brien has had a bus provided by Thomas in their fleet. In the end, the board chose to purchase one Bluebird bus.

A report and projection of two property tax levies funds were provided looking out to FY 2023. The two funds are PPEL (Plant, Property and Equipment Levy) that has two levies voted in, the first by the board (33 cents per $1000) and the second by the public ($1.17607 per $1000). The second levy, SAVE is an acronym for Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, is a statewide 1% sales tax. A district can opt in or not to receive revenue from this fund and it is distributed to participating school districts per capita.

Factoring current and foreseeable returns and spending anticipated balances or available funds for projects could exceed $2,457,280.06 in PPEL and $798,059.38 in SAVE. PPEL uses are limited to the physical property and equipment needs of a school district. SAVE has more flexibility for use in the district.

Because of the change in voting dates, the employment contract for Sharla Rupert, Board Secretary was extended for 2 months until the elections are over and she may or may not be reappointed by the board. Given this would be her normal employment anniversary and any compensation adjustments made at that time, the board decided to table her compensation and provide the adjustments following the elections, if any are voted for her.

The board also took its first steps in its search for a new superintendent needed to be in place on July 1, 2020. Moore's last day is June 30, 2020. The method of search and selection and the potential use of a search agency will be determined at a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday September 24. Following determination of the selection process for a new superintendent, the board will move into a work session of finance and facilities.


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