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Committee meets to discuss solution to busing issue at Dayton Public Schools

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(UPDATE) -- The Dayton Public Schools Finance Committee faced tough decisions tonight. They were tasked with proposing a plan to overhaul transportation .

"At 14 years average school bus, that's a disaster on wheels," said board member Dr. Adil Baguirov.

However, the exact plan is still unknown. The board looked at all options: buying, financing and leasing anywhere from 30 to 115 buses. The recommended plan is financing 110 to 115 buses for seven years, with a price tag around $1.5 million. The board voted to send the recommendation to the full board for a final vote tomorrow.

"It saves money instantly, as well as in the long run," Baguirov said. "It reduces problems including safety and security."

Not everyone agreed.

"I can't support making this recommendation to the board, so I'm going to have to resign as finance committee chair," said Joe Lacey, halfway through the meeting.

Lacey's resignation is only temporary, but stemmed from a lack of compromise with the committee. During the meeting, he spoke about the bus issues he faces as a parent, with miscommunication and an inefficient alert system, while continuing to get inaccurate calls about scheduling.

The superintendent, Rhonda Corr, voiced concern about the overall cost of a new fleet.

"We are in negotiations with 11 unions, and we care about our employees, and we want to be fair to them," said Corr.

Members reassured her the money spend on buses would not affect funds needed for potential wage increases. Still, others weren't as certain.

"We need the buses, but I don't want us to get locked into a process where our hands are tied," board president Robert Walker said.

But, the bigger issue is that without replacing the fleet in bulk, maintenance costs continue to rise. Right now, the district estimates paying up to $10,000 per bus per year. Baguirov says replacing the whole fleet is the only option that makes sense.

"A district whose consolidated budget is over $300 million a year, we can afford it," he said.

Noticeably absent from the meeting was the district's new transportation director, Mike Rosenberger. The board questioned why he wasn't there to give his input. There's no word on whether he will attend tomorrow's meeting to speak before the issue goes before the board.

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DAYTON (WKEF/WRGT) -- A heated debate today (Mar. 20) at an emergency committee meeting about transportation issues at Dayton Public Schools. This comes after repeated complaints from parents about late buses and buses failing to pick their kids.

At the meeting, the board discussed several different options to improve the transportation situation including buying, financing and leasing anywhere from 30 to 115 buses.

The board, along with Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Rhonda Corr, agreed to look into adding as many buses as possible to the fleet. The committee said replacing the fleet all at once is the only real option that makes sense.

"It saves money instantly, as well as in the long run and it reduces problems including safety and security problems because those buses constantly break down. Some of our oldest passes, our oldest bus is 27 years old by the way." said board member, Dr. Adil Baguirov.

The committee will take the issue to the full board meeting tomorrow (Mar. 21). Union representatives are expected to be there as well.


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