La Vernia ISD trustees look at aging bus fleet

La Vernia ISD trustees look at aging bus fleet
GREGORY RIPPS "” La Vernia Primary School Principal Tiffany Wehe describes her role in reaching nine school district priorities, as the district’s intermediate school Principal Scott Cales (from left), junior high school Principal Anthony Kosub, high school Principal Kimberley Martin, and high school Dean of Academics Steven Verm wait their turn at the district trustees’ Oct. 2 meeting.

La Vernia Independent School District trustees may have to take action regarding the district’s bus fleet sooner than they thought.

Trustees budgeted to purchase one school bus this year, but three of its 41 yellow buses had problems that required them to be temporarily taken out of service in just one week.

District Superintendent Jos Moreno said at the trustees’ Oct. 2 meeting that he wants to explore options to repairing old buses as well as to purchasing new ones outright.

“We may have to consider acquiring a few more buses at once,” he said.

District Transportation Coordinator Jason Scheel pointed out that eight of the buses are at least 20 years old. He offered three sources for acquiring 10 new buses in a lease/purchase arrangement or through the Public Property Finance Act. Each option would require annual payments ranging between $111,000 and $126,000 for 10 years.

Trustees were not ready to take action, but Moreno emphasized the district is in the information-gathering stage.

“Whatever it [the number of buses] may be, at some point we’ll have to do something,” he said. “Do we take baby steps or take a leap?”

In other matters, La Vernia police will have an expanded presence at La Vernia High School for the next three years.

An officer will be assigned to the campus on school days from 7:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., according to a new interlocal agreement approved by trustees at the same meeting.

Police Chief Bruce Ritchey said that the city of La Vernia will hire an additional officer to ensure the police department can fulfill its three-year commitment. He explained that the officer assigned to the high school would be available to go to the other district campuses as needed.

In other action, trustees:

• Recognized high school students who received dance camp awards

• Recognized high school students Allison Hertz for receiving the Girl Scouts Gold Award, Kyle Tellez for completing a graphic design internship at NuStar in San Antonio, and Reagan Preshong for participating in the Congress of Future Medical Leaders

• Reviewed a presentation on the district’s educational accountability. (The presentation may be viewed on the district’s website.)

• Took no action following a closed session to consult with the district’s attorney.