Swanville School Board debates buying new school bus or replacing motor in old one

By SARAH LIDEEN, Staff Writer, sarah.lideen@ecm-inc.com

Swanville Public Schools is down to only two buses after the motor in the district’s third and oldest bus quit.

A replacement motor for the 15-year-old bus would cost $1,500 to $2,000 after installation. However, the motor is from a burned vehicle where the mileage was not legible.

A diesel bus for sale in St. Cloud with 186,000 miles on it would cost $6,000.

“Most buses and companies are going away from gas buses now,” said Board Chair Jay Loven. “I would like to see the diesel bus; they get better gas mileage.”

The bus holds 77 passengers, seven more than the current bus and seven more than what the school needs.

“We only need a 65 passenger bus, so it wouldn’t hurt us,” said Loven.

The old bus also has one bad cylinder with two more close to giving out. Loven said they would be able to salvage some parts of the old bus that are still in working condition for the new bus.

“One thing about a diesel is, if something is wrong with them, it’s twice as much to fix, but things rarely go wrong with them,” said Loven.

After the Board discussed the options, it decided to try the prospective new bus for one week and then make the final decision if they are going to keep it or purchase a new motor.

A local junk yard offered Loven $2,000 for the old bus.

Loven did not think that funding for the new bus would impact the budget for the rest of 2012.

“It depends how much the new bus would end up costing,” said Sheryl Johnson, Swanville Public Schools dean of students.

A final decision will be made by Jan. 24.

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