Bus purchase measure facts

Bus purchase measure facts

On May 18, Fayetteville-Manlius voters approved the purchase of seven 70-passenger buses at a cost of $748,538. (Voting results.)

Where will the district get the money to pay for these buses?

The state reimburses the purchase cost of buses at about 75 percent, meaning district taxpayers would be responsible for about $187,135, or $2,673 per year over the expected 10-year service life of the bus. 

What does the district typically pay to maintain its buses?

Average maintenance costs for buses increase from about $1,000 per year during the first three years a bus is in service, to an average of about $2,000 for years seven through nine. The annual maintenance cost for a 10-year old bus typically exceeds $6,000. In year 11, maintenance costs could approach $10,000. The largest repair expense in those later years is typically related to under-body corrosion. That damage, which can make the bus unsafe, can be difficult for the casual observer to see. 

Does the district have a bus replacement schedule?

Replacing buses before they are 10 years old reduces repair expenses, increases fuel efficiency and supports standards of on-road bus safety.The district is working toward a 10-year school bus replacement program, under which the district would replace seven buses each year. 

What would happen to the schedule if this year’s ballot measure were to fail?

The district would push the replacement schedule back one year. As a result, the district would use some buses that are 12 years old in coming years.

What does the district do with the buses it retires?

They are traded in as new buses are purchased. Since the engines are typically in good condition, there is a strong market for our used buses in areas that don’t use as much road salt as we do in Central New York. F-M expects the traded-in buses to be worth about $9,000 to the district.

What is F-M doing to reduce its busing costs? 

  • Because the district works through an OCM BOCES bid and pays no taxes, its cost for fuel is typically about $1 per gallon below retail.
  • The district has a policy against allowing buses to idle more than 10 minutes.
  • The district saves money by completing 95 percent of bus repairs in-house.
  • The district’s state Department of Transportation Bus Maintenance Passing Rate is 99.2 percent (compared to a statewide average of 89.7 percent). That means that only a small number of F-M buses are out of service at any one time.
  • Buses in service complete three pick-up routes and three drop-off routes each day, the maximum number possible.
  • Bus routes are adjusted each year for maximum efficiency.
  • Field trips by bus have been reduced by 10 percent from 2008-09 levels.
  • Working with Section 3, the district reduced the number of events that require F-M to transport athletes. 

I often see nearly empty F-M school buses on the road. Can’t the district save money by consolidating some of the routes?

State rules require that bus routes be created to provide a seat for every child whose family requests bus transportation. Even though many families that request bus service find other ways to get their children to school, the seats must be available to them. The state also requires school districts to have a bus seat available for every child to get home in the event of a school evacuation.

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