HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -
Your child could be on a new Hillsborough County School Bus by February. The school board voted Tuesday to spend $11 million and order 100 new buses.
The decision comes after a report by school bus consultants saying that a quarter of the bus fleet was at the "breaking point." The consultants recommended the board sign on with Thomas Built Buses. Some board members argued Blue Bird, a local dealer, was a better option.
"It is a less expensive bus. It is a safe bus. It has the features that the bus drivers say are important to them," said a board member Susan Valdes.
The final vote was 5 to 2, to pay the Thomas Bus company $11 million for an order of 100 buses. This is part of a 15-year plan to replace the entire aging fleet.
"We hired a consultant to do a job for us and we need, as hard as it may be, we need to trust what the consultant has brought forward," said a school board member Cindy Stuart.
The board will wait until the end of June or beginning of July, because they have information that the price of the buses may drop.
Buying buses doesn't solve the entire issue. Also in the works, new training for drivers, mechanics, and new, written rules that spell out expectations and consequences for violations. The board agreed to pay School Bus Consultants $35,000 to continue to research the transportation system and come up with solutions.