Board OKs MPVs: Van-type vehicles to help with athletics

The purchasing of two multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) gained Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education approval during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The vehicles, each nine-passenger vans, are to be purchased from Cardinal Bus Sales & Service for a net cost of $76,600 after a trade-in value of $2,200 for two older vans in the district’s fleet.

The vehicles look more like mini-buses than vans, Superintendent Keith Horner said.

“One big advantage for me is that it’s a safer vehicle than traditional vans,” Horner said.

The multi-purpose vehicles also carry an additional passenger compared to the vans, he said. The district has five vans in its fleet now.

Board member Eric McKinniss said due to the vehicles’ classifications, they do not require more than van qualifications to drive so more school employees and coaches who need to use them for trips qualify to drive them.

The vehicles are used for a variety of purposes, including the wrestling and golf teams, as well as to transport small groups of students and teachers to different events.

“They are used throughout the district for different purposes, but primarily for athletic events,” Horner said.

Board members also gave permission Tuesday for Wapakoneta City Schools Operations Director Mike Watt to advertise for bids for a bus with a wheelchair lift.

Watt said estimated costs for the bus are approximately $90,000 before any trade-ins.

Money for the purchase of the vehicles comes from the district’s Permanent Improvement Fund, not the general fund, and can only be used for buildings, books, buses and other items that last five years or more, Horner said.

The handicap accessible bus would be part of the district’s 13-year rotation but typically cost more than a traditional bus, he said.

Phased out would be a 1996 spare handicap bus with a 2002 model becoming the new spare for the district as the new bus would be used for a regular route, Watt explained.

He said with some retirements in the Transportation Department, they have made route changes and combined routes taking one older bus out of rotation which is expected to help reduce costs.

“It is more economical to buy a bus rather than a multi-purpose vehicle with a wheelchair lift because it would require a sacrifice of so much seating,” board member Pat Gibson said.