The purchase of new school buses for the Mehlville School District means elementary school students currently on the late start schedule will have to adjust their wake-up routines next year.
Last week the district’s Board of Education voted to purchase six new and six leased buses for the 2013-2014 school year. Buses will change run times from a four-tier to three-tier system, eliminating the 9:15 a.m. start for the following elementary schools: Bierbaum, Hagemann, Point, Trautwein and Wohlwend. High school and junior high bus students will not be affected.
The district was due to purchase six buses for the coming school year, four in 2015 and another four in 2017 to keep the fleet up-to-date. The additional leased buses elminate the need for a fourth tier pick-up time.
The lease option also “spreads the burden” of acquiring the additional buses right away, Superintendent Eric Knost said. The 20 buses will cost the district approximately $1.5 million by 2023, according to board documents, with $120,500 scheduled to be paid next year.
The district decided to move to the four-tier system as a cost-saving measure in 2011. The switch had “unintended consequences” on students and families, Knost said, particularly affecting students who had to miss class for afternoon medical appointments. The change also put a “strain on families who utilize day care for their school aged children,” according to board documents.