On Monday, December 5, 2022, eligible voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the following propositions:
“…the Board of Education of the Otego-Unadilla Central School District 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 of one hundred thirty-five thousand dollars ($135,000) per year, and for a term not to exceed five (5) years, the following motor vehicles: three (3) large school buses and one (1) medium school bus.”
CAPITAL RESERVE FUND
“…the Board of Education establish a capital reserve fund pursuant to Education Law §3651 to be known as the Capital Reserve Fund. The purpose of the Fund shall be to segregate and set aside funds for the purpose of construction, reconstruction or renovation of capital improvements and acquisition of equipment in the District. The ultimate amount of the Fund shall be five million dollars ($5,000,000.00), and the probable term of the fund shall be fifteen (15) years. The source from which funds can be obtained can include any or all of the following: Unappropriated fund balance from the general fund as determined by the Board of Education, State Aid related to expenditures from the capital reserve fund; interest income related to investment of monies in the fund; and any other additional monies thereafter authorized by the voters of the District.
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.
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 2022-2023 school year, four buses leased in 2017 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 642 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: