Replacing aging school buses is the focus of a proposal in La Porte ISD’s $234 million bond package in the May 6 runoff.
“Currently, our buses have malfunctioning or no air conditioning and have limited seat belts,” said Adam Holland, district communications director.
The $5.6 million for the bus replacement would be part of the $164 million provided by Proposition A, one of three propositions in the bond package.
Additional money from Proposition A would fund an education center/field house, improvements to all district schools, and facility and safety upgrades.
Proposal B, for $15 million, would fund personal electronic devices for all staff, teachers and students of all grades, and technology upgrades that would be expected over 10 years. Proposal C would provide $56 million for the replacement of Bulldog Stadium.
The district does not anticipate that approving all three proposals in the package would result in an increase in the property tax rate, which is $1.2565 per $100 of property valuation.
Holland said the district buses, which cost $140,000 each, generally last seven to 10 years. He said half of the current fleet of more than 85 buses is approaching or past that range.
The bond proposal would allocate funds to replace four buses a year over 10 years. The vehicles being replaced would be a mix of general and special education buses.
The new buses would include seat belts, interior and exterior cameras, air conditioning and WiFi so students could do their homework on long journeys, Holland said.
La Porte’s ISD buses transport more than half of the district’s students between home and school each year, traveling more than 314 routes in the 55-square-mile district, he said. The district had approximately 7,000 students in the previous school year.
The district spends more than 250,000 miles each year on buses that carry students for extracurricular activities. With La Porte High School classified as a 5A school in District 8, its teams travel to New Caney, Port Arthur, Crosby and Kingwood, as well as closer destinations like Baytown. That’s unlikely to change much when the University Interscholastic League holds its biennial realignment in February.