BCESD waiting to see if funding arrives to help pay for new buses

September 22, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — The Bullhead City Elementary School District is getting new buses.

Now the wait is on to see if help comes to pay for them.

District governing board members heard Thursday evening about the plans for two new route buses and two new travel buses; the latter include storage space under the seats, Supt. Benje Hookstra said.

The travel buses cost $144,000 each, and the route buses about $138,000, he said after the meeting.

The district’s plan calls for the buses to be financed over five years, Hookstra said, but if the BCESD is cut in on a settlement between the state and Volkswagen AG, that money can be used to shorten the term.

The automaker agreed to pay $20 million to the state to settle false advertising claims related to its diesel engines, which reportedly were rigged to show that their emissions were lower than they actually were.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he wants to put the money into the state’s general fund to be used to bolster K-12 education.

Department officials have calculated that the BCESD’s share of that money would be about $440,000, Hookstra said.

The district hasn’t purchased new buses in about 12 years, he said. Among the improvements in the new buses will be greater fuel economy and what he called “heavy-duty air conditioning.”

Also at the meeting, Hookstra said the district’s enrollment is at 2,704, down about 40 from a year ago.

Board President Dennis Crane asked for next month’s agenda to include an update on campus security from Hookstra and site administrators, including the current status of each campus and data on disciplinary actions and referrals.

Crane would like the presentations to be conducted in a way that includes the public in the discussion, “so they can know what’s going on on our campuses and they’re not just hearing the occasional story on social media.”

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