FSISD bus purchase proves a bumpy ride

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The subject of purchasing refurbished buses came up once again during the FSISD School Board's regular meeting on Dec. 18. A budget amendment moving funds to purchase the buses was presented for the board's approval

Board member Tom Ezell expressed concern regarding the purchase of the buses during the board's last meeting, and voiced his opinion again.

Ezell had previously stated the cost of the refurbished buses was approximately $700,000 more than if the board were to purchase completely new buses.

According to a letter to the editor Ezell submitted to the Pioneer for the Nov. 30 issue, each of the three six-year-old motor coach buses the board has approved purchasing costs $359,900. The total for all three buses would be approximately $1,079,700.

The buses Ezell researched were brand new international buses, and would cost $117,312 each, or $351,938 for all three.

Board member Sandra Marquez also discussed some issues she had with the buses after visiting two diesel mechanics personally.

"They said we are making a big mistake," Marquez said. "The Detroit engines that are in these buses are more costly to fix than other engines."

According to Marquez, she felt the serviceman who showed the board the buses was wary to share maintenance records with the board.

"The serviceman didn't know answers to questions we were asking about the bus," said Marquez. "He got nervous when we asked about the maintenance records, and was very short. Yes, they are refurbished buses, but are they really good on the inside?"

Board President Billy Espino stated he had discussed the purchase with Andrews ISD. Andrews ISD purchased similar buses and are planning on purchasing more, said Espino.

"I was concerned with the refurbishing," Espino explained. "But they recommend we at least try them. Three different people have told me this. They have been using them for a while."

After the discussion concluded, the board voted to approve the budget amendment allocating the funds to purchase the three refurbished buses.

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