Mathews Superintendent of Schools David J. Holleran has requested that the county fund two new school buses for the upcoming school year, explaining that a special needs bus is the priority, if only one bus can be funded.
Holleran’s request came during the county supervisors’ March 26 meeting. He said that if a letter of intent to purchase were sent before April 30, the prices for the two buses—$88,971 for a regular 65-passenger bus and $101,369 for a special education bus—would be locked in and no invoice would be received until after July 1. However, if the county were to wait until July 1 to approve the purchases, the bid could rise by 2 to 5 percent.
If the county finds it can’t afford to purchase a new bus, transportation supervisor Clyde Royals said, the county would not be obligated to purchase it.
Supervisors chair Edwina Casey asked why the last 65-passenger bus that was purchased was equipped with "a fancy stereo system."
Royals explained that the device was actually a public address system that would have been helpful during an incident last year in which a child was hit by a car, since the bus driver could have used the system to issue a warning. He said the radio was not ordered separately, but came installed.
Supervisor Neena Putt said she assumed that the buses would meet all safety requirements and asked if the county is open for liability if it doesn’t use new buses with safety features.