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City Schools tables talk of new bus

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By Ryan Lowery

While much of the Oct. 18 meeting of the Las Vegas City Schools Board of Education was dedicated to hearing a proposal from Mayor Tonita Gurulé-Girón about using a school building as a temporary homeless shelter, the board also weighed a proposal to replace one of the district’s three activities buses.

At the October regular meeting, Director of Operations Tom Meserve went before the board seeking approval to replace one of the district’s oldest buses at a cost of $194,700. Meserve told the board the bus he’d like to replace is almost 11 years old and has more than 150,000 miles on it.

The price quote Meserve received was for a 72-passenger bus, something Meserve would like to modify if the district approved the purchase.

“What I would like to do is remove one row of seats, which would then allow the seats to be placed a little bit further apart,” he told the board. “It would change it in to a 66-passenger bus. I just think it would be a little bit more comfortable for everybody.”

Board member Gloria Lovato Pacheco asked how the district would pay for the new bus.
“It was my understanding there were funds available,” Superintendent Kelt Cooper said.

“How?” Lovato Pacheco asked.

Business Manager Mari Hillis then stepped in with details, telling the board that funding for a new bus was a topic of the prior evening’s finance committee meeting. However, the conclusion was the funds were likely unavailable at the moment.

“Right now, unless we make changes, we probably do not have that,” she said. “Unless we want to use up our contingency amount that I built in at $250,000.”

Lovato Pacheco then asked the board to table the proposal until the board could have a discussion on capital outlay or speak with the finance committee.

“It’s my opinion that if we already have three excellent, working buses, why do we need a fourth?” she asked. “We need so many other things. I know people at the elementary who need computers. Who need a fence. Who need several things.”

But Meserve made one final plea for the new bus, telling the board that of the three buses, the second-oldest has around 60,000 miles on it, and the third already has more than 20,000 miles on it.

“You can keep putting them off and not replacing them,” he said, “and it gets to a point where you’re spending more money to keep the bus on the road then the bus is worth. There comes a point where you have to say: Are we spending the money the best that we can?”

Lovato Pacheco again motioned to table the discussion, and the board agreed unanimously.

The Las Vegas City Schools board is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting on Nov. 15.