District cleans house on surplus supplies, bus fleet

Several buses are seen at the Fruitland School District school bus storage facility, as pictured on Thursday. Three buses were designated as surplus by the board of trustees during Monday’s board meeting.

FRUITLAND — During its regular meeting on Monday, the Fruitland School District Board of Trustees reviewed several items to be added to the district’s ‘surplus’ inventory list. At Fruitland Middle School, surplus inventory includes old desks, chairs and textbooks, many of which were in poor condition, according to board chairman Kelly Henggeler.

At the district’s school bus storage facility, three buses were designated as surplus, including a spare wheelchair bus which the district has outgrown. It has two newer wheelchair-accessible buses, including a larger model which can accommodate the district’s increase in handicapped enrollment.

One bus has not been in active service since 2016.

In a phone interview, district transportation director Dan Reed said the age of the buses was one of several deciding factors; The three buses have over 462,000 combined miles on their odometers, equal to driving around the world 18 1/2 times, and two of them have mechanical issues, according to Henggeler. One bus dates back to 1994.

Reed said the process of determining when to get rid of a bus can be “nerve-racking.” Unlike Payette School District, which aims to replace one old bus per year, Fruitland School District cannot afford to do so.

“We just try to stretch everything we can out of a bus,” said Reed. 

He added that the cost of keeping buses safely on the road also impacts when they replace one.

The spare wheelchair bus will be sent to Western Mountain Bus Company out of Nampa. The other two will be made available for sale through the district office, through a sealed bid process in which the buses are sold to the highest bidders.

Trustee Layne Howell moved to approve moving these items to surplus. The vote was 4-0 to approve the motion.

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