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Potsdam Central School keeping two bus runs

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POTSDAM — Consolidating bus runs would cost the school district nearly $900,000 initially versus savings of roughly $30,000 in fuel costs.

According to a study by David McMartin, supervisor of transportation, the district would have to purchase six buses and hire six additional bus drivers if it switched to a single bus run. Elementary pupils are picked up on one bus run and middle and high school students are picked up on the second run. Consolidation would mean picking up all of the students during one run.

“To calculate the amount of buses needed we consider our current ridership is 934 students, which is divided by 52 students per bus capacity, would create the need for 18 buses plus four spares,” Mr. McMartin wrote, adding the district now has 12 buses and four spares.

Given the cost of each bus is $107,826.07, the purchase of buses alone would total $646,956.42. The addition of six drivers at an annual cost of $41,964 each, including benefits, would cost an additional $251,784, for a total of $898,740.42.

The savings from reduced fuel use would not be enough to justify the move.

Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said the salary number should have asterisks next to it, as it was calculated using the current wages, which likely would change as a result of reduced hours. That change, though, would have to be negotiated with the Civil Service Employees Association, Mr. Brady said.

“I would find based on the initial costs it would not be feasible for us to do a single bus run,” he said. “The initial startup costs would be very daunting.”

Mr. McMartin’s report also included information from three districts that have consolidated bus runs, indicating the move was good for them. The circumstances for those districts were different, Mr. Brady said, noting one of them received a lot of federal aid because of a high American Indian population, another had a population that mostly lived close to the school and the third district was consolidating from three bus runs to two.

“Although it is highly aidable, the initial startup costs makes this cost prohibitive,” Mr. Brady said.

Mr. McMartin also requested a referendum on the purchase of two new full-size buses.

“We’ll replace some older ones now,” he said. “We have a number in our fleet that are well over 100,000” miles.

The two buses slated for replacement entered 2012 with 149,721 miles and 152,676 miles. Without trade, the cost for the two buses would be about $215,000.

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