VILLA GROVE — To reduce transportation costs, the school district is looking into leasing its bus fleet as opposed to continuing to own its buses.
Superintendent Mary Ann Manos said the move would reduce repair and towing costs and also increase the safety for students.
"Because our fleet is aging, it is the perfect time to consider this," she said. The district has spent almost $50,000 this past year on towing and repairs. The newest bus in the current fleet is 7 years old.
With the board's permission, Manos will continue to research into leasing options and potential savings. The preliminary plan is to lease 10 new buses.
The newer buses will have a two-year lease, which includes 100 percent coverage of repairs. The newer buses will get an average of 8 miles per gallon, compared with 2 to 3 mpg for the older buses.
Manos says the school is merely looking at being bus leasers instead of owners. The district will still store and operate the buses.
"The arrangement will not involve a third party except for the leasing company," said Manos. "We didn't want to put our driver's employment in jeopardy."