November 23, 2021
On Monday, December 6, 2021, eligible voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the following proposition:
“…the Board of Education of the Otego-Unadilla Central School is hereby authorized to lease and expend therefore, including costs incidental thereto and the financing thereof, an amount not to exceed the estimated maximum cost one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per year, and for a term not to exceed five (5) years, the following motor vehicles: three (3) large passenger school buses, and one (1) medium passenger school bus.…”
The polls will be in the hall outside the Unatego District Office in the Junior-Senior High School building. You can vote anytime between noon until 8:00 p.m. By Governor’s Executive Order, masks are required at all times when inside a school building.
Why is it more cost-effective for Unatego to lease rather than purchase buses?
In 2013, the Unatego Board of Education made a commitment to transition from a wholly owned fleet to a fully leased fleet of buses over a period of five years. During the 2014-2015 school year, the district leased four buses, with a full extended warranty, for a period of five years. Each subsequent school year, the district has been leasing, with voter approval, four or five buses per year. During the 2021-2022 school year, four buses leased in 2016 must be returned to the dealer and will need to be replaced in the district fleet. Each year hereafter, the district will replace four or five buses as their leases (and warranties) expire.
There are several reasons why we now lease, rather than purchase, our buses. First, each bus costs more than $100,000, and were it necessary to purchase four or five buses, we would need to bond for $400,000 or $500,000 each year, with that bond to be repaid over a five-year period. Leasing requires only a fraction of the funding required to purchase. Second, leasing buses with an extended warranty reduces the district’s maintenance costs significantly, as we only pay for “wear and tear” items. Finally, leasing ensures that all the vehicles in our fleet are no more than five years old, which reduces the need for body work, engine overhauls, and transmission service. Most importantly, we take the safety of our students very seriously and newer buses are safer.
Why does the district need to lease four new buses?
To replace the buses going ‘off lease’. If we maintain this annual rotation schedule, the impact to taxpayers will not increase significantly and we will continue to generate NYS Transportation Aid to cover 90% of the cost of the leases.
Why do we need so many buses when our enrollment is down?
First, even though our enrollment has declined in recent years, ridership has remained relatively steady at 563 students transported each day. We currently have 12 in-district routes and 7 out-of-district routes, necessitating 19 daily runs, up from 16 in 2014. It should also be noted that our district covers 186 square miles. In order to keep student transport time to an hour or less, we need to maintain our current routes. Our fleet currently consists of 21 buses, all 21 of which are leased (13 large, 8 small).
If you have any questions about the Transportation Department or the bus vote, please contact one of the following: