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Wednesday August 15th, 2018 8:39PM

Hall School Board hears of sweet bus deal on night when millage rate public hearing is delayed

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – The Hall County School Superintendent knew a good deal when he saw one and now eleven of the system’s oldest and most in-need-of-repair school buses are going on the auction block.

Most of those being retired are over twenty years old and have hundreds of thousands of miles on them, not to mention the wear and tear constant stopping and starting places on vehicle components.

“It was kind of an informal thing a couple of months ago,” Superintendent Will Schofield said after Monday’s school board work session.

“I had just heard that our friends in Fayette County were getting rid of some relatively new buses because they had a windfall,” Schofield explained. 

“That’s a personal friend down there,” Schofield said of the district official who told him of the development.  “So I just called up the superintendent; and legally you can sell surplused equipment from one school district to another.”

“So we went down and took a look at those buses, and when we saw what they were selling and what they were asking, we just said we’d take them all.  So we picked up twenty buses.”

“They’re about ten years old, some with less than 100,000 miles.  We typically will put a quarter-of-a-million to 400,000 miles on a bus.”

“Those buses are worth at least twice what we paid for them,” Schofield said of Hall County’s accepted offer of $7000 per bus.  “Buses that (are) probably in the $20,000 range.”

Schofield said a new bus offering similar transportation capabilities costs about $85,000.

“Some of our drivers that went down to get them for us said, ‘Can we trade this for our bus?’” Schofield said with a chuckle.

The buses are now being equipped with video cameras and will be ready for use when school opens in August.

“We just bought a lot of bus!” Schofield told board members.

SCHOOL BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING DELAYED

Due to confusion in the date and time of the first public hearing provided to the district’s legal media outlet for publication (something required by Georgia law), tonight’s hearing was delayed.

“This will be an informal hearing tonight because of a typo in the newspaper,” Superintendent Schofield said.  “The first official hearing will be Wednesday (June 13) at 6 o’clock followed by the two on the 25th; one at 11:30 (a.m.) and one at 6.”

Due to the nature of the recommended millage rate appropo to the FY 2019 budget, state law requires that three public hearings be held before the school board can vote on setting the millage rate.

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