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Continental School District 39 finds new ways to transport kids on new buses

District leases buses while saving thousands of dollars
School bus
Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 00:18:17-04

TUCSON, Ariz.(KGUN) — Continental School District 39 found a new way to get students to campus by bus and it is saving them thousands of dollars in the process. The district just received a new school bus and has five more on the way to help get their outdated fleet of 14 up to par. Transportation director Stephen Lane says they have a five-year lease on the new buses, and it is a money saver. On top of that, getting parts to fix up the old buses has been close to impossible, the oldest bus dates back to 1996.

“With the newer fleet coming in, our lease option includes five years of maintenance, so we don’t have to worry about this and that on the school bus,” Lane said.

Business Service Director Greg Schubert says the contract with Arizona Bus Center can save the district up to $45,000 per year. The new buses were built between 2018 and 2021 and were never used until now.

“We purchased a bus this year it costs us $157,000. I can lease five buses, four like the ones you see here and a special education bus I can lease 5 of those for $145,000 per year,” Schubert said.

The buses come with a warranty, along with security cameras and the contract is paid for with money from the districts $500,000 capital budget.

"We’re doing everything we can do to get their kids to and from school safely. The buses that we have are safe, they are inspected by the department of safety every year,” Schubert Said.

Another factor is the updated buses will help drop cost of diesel fuel. The old buses get about 5 miles per gallon and the new ones can get 10. Nearly 70% of Continental’s students ride the bus on a daily basis. Right now, there are over 650 students in the district.

"It allows us to lock in the prices and be financially responsible to the community,” Lane said.

The new buses will be ready for the districts 16 drivers by the fall, as for the old ones they're headed to the state auction for sale.

“Prices are only going to go up I’m projecting that at the end of the 5-year lease that buses can be $220,000 to $240,000,” Lane said.

Shawndrea Thomas is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. Shawndrea is living her dream as a journalist who’s passionate about making a difference. Share your story ideas and important issues with Shawndrea by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.