The Kent School District will buy six new buses at a cost of $989,932 as part of its fleet replacement program for older buses.
The Kent School Board unanimously approved the purchase at its May 25 meeting. The North Carolina-based Thomas Built buses will be purchased from Schetky Bus and Van Sales in Lakewood. Each bus seats 84 passengers.
“We‘re getting a good deal, but of course, it’s because we have been buying buses from Thomas for some time, so this is a chance to get some replacement vehicles and it works very well costwise,” said school board director Tim Clark.
The 2023 buses will replace model year 2002 to 2006 buses from the fleet, according to school district documents. The new buses were selected from the 2021-22 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) state accepted quotes list.
“We have been advised by school bus dealerships that due to manufacturing and sourcing constraints, the pricing will significantly increase after Sept. 1, 2022,” according to district documents. “It is to our advantage to secure the 21-22 pricing now.”
The funds are budgeted for 2022-2023 in the transportation vehicle fund. The estimated delivery date is April 2023, according to district documents.
School board director Joe Bento said he preferred electric buses over diesel buses.
But the cost of electric buses is much higher.
The district received a state Department of Ecology grant of $871,356 in 2020 to purchase three electric buses. Funding from the state of Washington’s Volkswagen diesel emission settlement paid for the buses. The state spent $12 million of the $112.7 million settlement on grants to 22 school districts to buy 40 buses.