Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 19, 2013

Bus purchase considered

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Ultimately, purchasing won out on the board as five of the six voting members present Wednesday agreed ownership to be important. According to Brady's research, leasing offered a much-reduced cost for the first few years of the long-term plan – especially with this year's replacement – but would hinder the district in year six as double the number of buses would need to be leased.

It's even worse in the tenth year when triple the number of buses would be leased, a scenario School Board President Steve Sabo said he wanted to avoid.

"I like owning stuff," he said. "It's a better situation than leasing. We need to start establishing a plan for the future, which is what this does."

Only the newest member of the board, Amy Deull, stood fast for the leasing option, favoring the reduced initial cost, about $385,000 less than what was estimated by Brady to make the purchase.

At the current rate of replacement established in this request to voters, it will take 14 years to fully turn over the 70 bus stock.

Going forward, Fusco said it's going to take time to get the district back on track. But an approved purchase, which is expected to use cash reserves from underspending the 2012-13 budget, would be the first of the many baby steps required to get a solution from new administrators in place, she said.

"As Allison and I are learning, we're trying to make baby steps so we have some sustainable resources for things like buses," Fusco said. "We're still working through some of the issues with the budget and we will continue to be doing that for a good while here. There's no magic bullet, there's no quick fix. It's going to take patience, persistence and education."

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.

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