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NY Mills preps bus fleet for new school year

Through rain and hail, flickering power and tornado warnings, the New York Mills school board met as usual on Monday evening.

For a large portion of the meeting, the discussion focused around the district’s bus fleet and how students would be transported this year.

Transportation Supervisor Bob Theisen reported that there will now be nine bus routes, rather than 10.

Even with this change, he said, students located in the district should not spend more than one hour and 45 minutes on the bus per day, following a rule created by the school board.

Open-enrollment students from outside of the district who ride the bus may be an exception to this policy.

A new bus driver had been hired, Theisen said, and another opening was waiting to be filled.

Theisen made a request to lease a new bus, which the board approved.

According to Theisen, three buses in the fleet have more than 200,000 miles and eight have more than 150,000.

“I know nowadays, that’s not a lot of miles, but it is on a bus,” he said. “Mechanically, they hold up. It’s the bodies that rust out… We have to get on a routine of replacing buses.”

Once the new bus is delivered sometime this fall, the district can retire “the rustiest” vehicle in the fleet, he said.

“I think that’s the 1996 bus,” said Theisen. “The inspector this summer was actually afraid the door might fall off when they opened it. Jokingly, they said that… but it is pretty rusty. That one will need the most repair within the next year.”

Extreme rust, Theisen added, can result in the safety certification of a bus being revoked. That issue would be even more costly and inconvenient for the district.

Elizabeth Huwe