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A look at Proposition 2

Dear Oswego City School District residents:
When you head to the polls on May 21, you will vote on three propositions. Proposition 1 will be for the voters to approve the $86 million school budget. Proposition 2 will be for the voters to approve the purchase and bonding of nine new buses, at a cost of $911,000. Proposition 3 will be for the voters to approve the $1.3M library budget.
 
We would like to take this opportunity to explain in more detail, about the bus proposition and to provide more information on the district’s bus fleet. The Oswego City School District has a bus fleet of 66 buses. Our buses transport 3,200 students each day to school. The bus drivers are the first people that greet the students in the morning and set the tone for their day in school. District drivers pick up students in all weather conditions and we make every effort to ensure that our buses are safe.
 
Over six years ago, the district began a cyclical bus replacement plan to take older buses out of service and replace them with new ones. This rotation is warranted in a city school district where the stop-and-go and excessive mileage creates more maintenance on these buses. The current bus fleet is maintained by three mechanics at a ratio of 22 buses to one mechanic. This ratio would not be possible without the cyclical replacement plan. New buses come with a five-year warranty, which allows our mechanics to spend more time on the older buses.
 
This year, the district has a proposition going to the voters to bond for nine new buses.  (1) 34-passenger mini school bus at a maximum estimated cost of $56,213; one (1) 34-passenger mini school bus with wheelchair lift at a maximum estimated cost of $69,625; three (3) 66-passenger full size school buses at a maximum estimated cost of $113,667 each; three (3) 66 passenger full size school buses (gasoline) at a maximum estimated cost of $108,684 each; and one (1) full size wheelchair bus (gasoline) at a maximum estimated cost of $118,109, at a total combined maximum estimated cost not to exceed $911,000; (b) the issuance of up to $911,000.
 
Four years ago, the bus manufacturers began to roll out gasoline buses. This will be the first year the district will purchase four gasoline buses to add to its fleet. Gasoline buses are less expensive then diesel buses, are easier to maintain and their emission system does not require additives, which are costly. Lastly, diesel buses need to be warmed up, or plugged in, during the winter. Gasoline buses have no such requirement. Diesel buses also have an after-emission system which is a high maintenance issue.
 
With the replacement schedule, the district also recoups some funds by auctioning off older buses.  On average, we receive approximately $20,000 per bus at auction. In addition, we receive approximately 86% in state aid on our buses, so the bonds less state aid would be $783,460. This means that the local cost to the taxpayers is only 14%, or $127,540.
 
We also time the bonding for the new buses to coincide with the timing of the state aid for a true net of cost.
 
The district has appreciated the continued support of its community to ensure the safety of all students.
 
Please remember to vote on May 21.
 
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