Superintendent: New buses could take 6 to 8 months - FOX 13 News

Superintendent: New buses could take 6 to 8 months

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

There might be an end in sight for the Hillsborough County School District and their aging bus fleet.

After presenting a transportation plan to the school board Wednesday, Superintendent MaryEllen Elia will recommend the purchase of 100 new buses by the school board when they meet on June 10. A consultant hired by the board recently determined 349 of the district's 1,393 buses needed replacing.

If the plan to buy 100 buses is approved, it would still be some time before they are on the roads and picking up our kids.

"The reality is that it will take six to eight months to get them," Board Chair Carol Kurdell told FOX 13. "Oh- if I had a magic wand, I would have those, ya know- 1,000 of those buses- but that ain't gonna happen."

According to consultant report released last week, fixing the fleet could cost between $11 and $16 million during each of the next 14 years. So, where will the money come from?

"We have the funding to purchase 100 buses, and we'll be moving forward with that recommendation " Superintendent Elia told FOX 13 News. Elia went on to say that there are no plans to borrow money, dip into the contingency fund or raise taxes to cover the cost.

This has been an ongoing problem, in fact the board voted down a similar recommendation in the past.

"We are all accountable because we made a conscience decision not to lay people off- to put money in the classroom. It's obvious the transportation suffered a great deal" Kurdell said.

If approved, December or January would be the earliest the new buses would be used to pick up and drop off students.

Wednesday's workshop also addressed a number of other issues with the district’s transportation system. Among those issues were salary, equipment and management.

Additional workshops have been scheduled leading up to June 10 to further discuss those issues.

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