School Board addressing transportation hurdles

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Poplarville School District’s Board of Trustees took the first step to transition its fleet of 24 buses from diesel to gasoline during Monday’s meeting.

Transportation Director Rossie Creel said maintenance on the diesel engines is “eating up our budget.”

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“We want to move forward on this because the buses are cheaper to buy and the overall maintenance costs are cheaper as well,” Creel said.

He noted the costs for diesel engine parts are “substantially higher” than for gasoline engines.

“Our buses are getting older and we are having to do a lot of work to keep them up,” Creel said.

He said the original recommendation for buying a bus powered with an International engine was scrapped after seeing the replacement price was $18,000 for that make.

‘The replacement cost for the Ford V-10, which is a Blue Bird bus, is only about $5,500,” Creel said. “Also, parts for that engine can be bought at our local parts houses if we need them. You don’t have to go straight to the manufacturer. That all means upkeep down the road going to cost us a lot less money.”

District Superintendent Carl Merritt said that in his discussions with other school directors, he has found that finding to be a “coming trend” in school transportation.

“Fuel is cheaper and finding people to work on a gas engine is easier,” Merritt said.

In other business, Merritt presented members of the Board with certificates of appreciation for their service to the District.

“We appreciate what you bring to the table for us,” he told the members, adding this is School Board Appreciation Week.