Buy or lease? Schools choose the later for buses

By Jonathan Delozier -

Three buses will be leased at $50,988 per year to help carry Wellington school district riders.

Rush Enterprises, a Texas firm, won the bid to provide the buses in a January vote by the Wellington board of education.

“We got such a terrific interest rate it was almost free money,” said interim superintendent Tom Tucker. “Doing it this way over a five-year deal helps us avoid having to fork out about ($255,000) right off the bat.”

In the district’s five-year forecast last spring, former superintendent Dennis Mock and former treasurer Michael Pissini pointed to 2018 and 2019 as potentially difficult times for the district. They said the purchase of new buses would prove difficult.

A new bus ranges from $65,000 to $85,000 depending on how it’s equipped.

Mock said state aid used to cover around 90 percent of that cost, but now most of those funds have gone away.

“The state covers nothing,” said Tucker. “They reimburse you a little bit but for purchases of equipment, that’s all been phased out. There used to be a program and a period of time you could get covered for purchases like this but that’s all gone now.”

Tucker said he does not envision that aid coming back any time soon.

“Our governor has written two state budgets,” he said. “One is flat-line funding and the other is a 10 percent reduction. It sure would be nice but I sincerely doubt we’ll see any changes at least over the next two years.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier