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New year, new buses: First buses funded through 2022 Bond Program now transporting students

Twenty new buses funded by the 2022 Bond Program are now being used to transport students to and from school. The 2023 Model C3411 and C2608 International buses are part of the district’s first order of vehicles funded through the 2022 Bond Program, which included a total of $5.6 million earmarked for transportation. 

 

The new buses began arriving this spring, and the district spent several months fitting them with two-way radios, SmartTag devices and getting them registered. Of the 20 included in the initial order, 15 are 77-passenger buses and five are 55-passenger, with the latter intended to serve students who receive special education services. All of the new buses are equipped with air conditioning, seat restraints, Motorola two-way radios, camera systems, and collision mitigation systems.

 

“On behalf of myself and the entire transportation team, we want to thank the Belton ISD community for supporting the bond and its efforts to purchase new buses,” said Keith Cook, Belton ISD Executive Director of Operations.

 

“The safe transportation of our students to and from school plays a significant role in the success of each and every student in our district, and the community’s support of the 2022 Bond will allow us to transport our students safely using the latest and greatest technology and mechanical design.”

 

The recent $2.6 million bus purchase marks the first time that Belton ISD has used bond funds for buses, as past purchases were funded by the district’s general fund. According to Cook, using bonds to purchase buses is advantageous to Belton ISD and its taxpayers because the cost of the purchases can be spread over the life of the asset rather than a single year’s general fund. Utilizing bond funds for bus purchases also allows the district to reserve the district’s general fund for other important priorities, such as employee salaries and utilities.

 

Unlike bonds used for construction projects, which are typically repaid over longer terms, bonds used to fund items with shorter lifespans are paid off sooner, before the item becomes obsolete. In Belton ISD, buses are typically replaced after 15 years of age or as significant mechanical issues occur. A total of 113 buses are now part of the Belton ISD fleet.

 

“We have a tremendous mechanical and maintenance team led by Shop Foreman, Jared Bouchie,” said Cook. “Due to his leadership and his team’s ongoing efforts, Belton ISD is able to use our buses for at least 15 years, getting the most out of taxpayer money while safely transporting our students.”

 

Belton ISD plans to purchase a total of 45 new International buses as part of the 2022 Bond Program. Approximately 33 percent of Belton ISD’s student enrollment are bus riders, and at the current growth rate of three percent, Belton ISD expects to add about 135 bus riders each year.

For more information about the 2022 Bond Program, visit www.BISD.net/Bond_2022.