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School board considers bus leasing option

Lake Superior School District school board members are mulling over the option of leasing school buses instead of purchasing them.

Hoglund Bus and Truck representative Randy Johnson presented the option of bus leasing to the school board last Thursday. The school district currently works with the company. Johnson said leasing would be a good option for the school district.

"In a lease option, you are essentially taking in all new buses and I am taking all your old buses," he told the Board.

Johnson said the costs of buying a bus today would be $85,385. He said if the school district continues to buy buses instead of lease, the cost would be $256,155 for three buses this year and $170,770 for two buses every year after that. The school district would also have to pay for bus maintenance. But under the leasing agreement, the buses would be with the school district for three years and would be under tow warranties. At the end of three years, Johnson would take the buses back and sell them. The cost would then be $202,156.90 per year.

Johnson also said he might be able to eliminate some routes. This could result in a bus driver losing their job, although the district might be able to save money.

"Times are tight," he said. "I don't want anyone to lose their job. But at the end of the day, my job is to make transportation efficient."

Since this was a presentation, the board members did not make a decision on leasing at the meeting.

Gardening grant

Gardening seems to be on everyone's minds lately.

Lake Superior School District substitute teacher Leah Bott asked the school board to approve a Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council grant application.

"The grant is to apply for planting benches that would be in each of the classrooms at Minnehaha and supplies to go with that, the lights, the soil, the pots, the seeds to tie the agriculture literacy standards with the state science standards," said Bott.

She explained it would be portable supplies. Bott and other teachers met and surveyed other teachers and brainstormed what supplies would work best.

"Some [light carts] will be six feet tall and others will be desk top ones," she said. "The teachers want to provide hands-on experiences to their students."

She went to say they have looked at pH meters, light meters, and types of fertilizer. "Especially for the older kids, it's not just going to be about growing plants it's going to about doing experiments so they can see how things make a difference," Bott said.

The Board asked if Bott had thought of adult activities as well. One of the things she would like to do is to hold a harvest festival in the fall. In the spring, plants and seeds would be sent home with the students.

"In the fall, they could bring something back in a county fair type of thing," Bott said. "That would be part of them taking this beyond school."