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General Brown board approves $372,600 lease of 15 buses

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DEXTER — The General Brown Central School District Board of Education approved a $372,600 lease of 15 buses for the 2012-13 school year during a special meeting Tuesday.

After an initial July 31 meeting to award a contract was pushed back after no bids were received, the board reached out again to bus companies and voted 7-0 Tuesday that Birnie Bus Service, Rome, best met bid specifications.

Board member Michael E. Kucharski asked if the district would be responsible for maintenance of the leased fleet. District Operations Manager Gary C. Grimm said yes — for routine needs. Under the lease agreement, the district would be allowed 20,000 miles per bus for the 2012-13 school year. District Business Administrator Michele A. Traynor said there would be an added charge of 50 cents per mile if the district went over the maximum allowable mileage.

“There’s a couple of routes that’d go over that, but we’ll rotate,” Mr. Grimm said.

District Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. said another bid came in $20,000 less than Birnie Bus Service’s offer, but that company could not guarantee all buses would pass state Department of Transportation inspection on time.

Mr. Vigliotti said this lease will be “the largest lease ever” for the district, but over time the district may lease fewer buses as the board decides how it will go about building its own bus fleet back up.

Board member Bruce C. Strough asked if the lease cost would be applied toward a possible future purchase of those same buses, which includes one wheelchair bus. Mr. Vigliotti said that is not guaranteed.

Mr. Vigliotti also said Mr. Strough’s thoughts may be the ultimate recommendation of Transportation Advisory Services, Walworth. The board approved a $12,450 contract in June with the company for a transportation study to explore all busing options for the district. Board members will receive a report from Transportation Advisory Services later this month.

The district is searching for a new bus fleet because an April 13 fire at the district’s bus garage, 17704 Cemetery Road, destroyed 20 of the district’s 23 buses. About $1 million in insurance money will be put into a reserve account to purchase the new fleet.

Meanwhile, 80 percent, or $298,080, of the $372,600 is aidable for transportation needs of the 2013-14 school year.

Although the 15 leased buses will have “Birnie Bus Service” on them, the district will also be allowed to come up with a way to temporarily have the General Brown name on them.

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