13 new buses arrive for Walker County Schools

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 1/10/20

Thirteen school buses purchased by the Walker County Board of Education arrived on Thursday.

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13 new buses arrive for Walker County Schools

Posted

Thirteen school buses purchased by the Walker County Board of Education arrived on Thursday.

Central office officials and members of the school system's transportation department joined Thursday afternoon to take a ceremonial picture with the new school buses that were long needed by Walker County Schools.

The board of education announced in September that the school buses would be purchased with money received through the  Education Trust Fund's Advancement and Technology Fund. A total of $1.9 million in ETF funding was given to the board last year, some of which was used for transportation needs.

Eleven regular, air-conditioned school buses were purchased by the board for nearly $84,000 each, as well as two special needs buses for $96,000 each. 

The buses were purchased to replace some 2004 and 2000 bus models still in use.

Walker County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joel Hagood said it was a happy day for the school system to have the much-needed buses arrive.

"The drivers are excited to get a new bus," Hagood said.

Mike Scott, director of transportation for the school board, said the buses will be on county roads as early as next Tuesday evening.

"The drivers that have the older buses, we're going to replace them that way," Scott said.

As of Thursday, he said three 2000 models were still being used and nine 2004 models.

"We're going to almost replace all of those," he said.

The two new special needs buses will replace a 1999 model and a 2000 model.

Purchasing school buses will allow the school system to once again participate in the Alabama Fleet Renewal Program.

According to the Alabama State Department of Education's website, "The Alabama Fleet Renewal Program provides local school systems funding for each school bus in their fleet that is 10 years old or less. This funding is provided for a maximum of 10 years."

In order to participate in the program and later get reimbursements, the school board must purchase buses.

"We hope to continue doing this," Hagood said of purchasing school buses. "We hope to have another round next year and hopefully next year, too. That will let us get back in the fleet renewal with the state, where we can hopefully keep them up to date and keep good buses on the road."

The next round of school bus purchases will help to replace 10 2005 models and 10 2007 models in the Walker County Schools' fleet, according to Scott. 

Hagood told the Daily Mountain Eagle in September 2019 that he estimated 100 county school buses travel Walker County roads during school weeks.