WILMINGTON — The Wilmington City Schools (WCS) district aims to buy 10 new school buses, financed through the issuing of public bonds.
If things go as planned, delivery of all 10 buses is anticipated to occur in April or May 2016.
“We need new buses for the safety of our kids at this point,” WCS Superintendent Ron Sexton said during Monday night’s session of the board of education.
The school district has not purchased buses “in a long time,” said Sexton, adding the repair work in the meantime has included replacing floors in buses.
The acquisition of 10 buses will mean about one-third of the WCS fleet will be new vehicles — the district currently has a total of 28 buses.
The estimated price tag per bus is $95,000, for an estimated total of $950,000.
The estimated average annual debt service for WCS will be $150,700, according to Michael K. Burns, public finance director for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Columbus.
Burns proposed a seven-year term for the general obligation bonds. The estimated interest cost on the proposed bonds, based on rates as of September 2015, is 2.57 percent.
WCS Treasurer Kim DeWeese said after Monday’s board meeting, “The interest rate is really low.”
Current buses will be retired based on factors such as a vehicle’s condition, mileage, age and maintenance records, WCS Business Director Curt Bone said Tuesday.
Those buses will be sold, traded in, or parted out, whatever is most feasible, said Bone.
The school board unanimously approved a measure in support of bond financing for the buses.
During building principals’ reports, Holmes Elementary School Principal Carrie Zeigler spoke about Friday’s bomb threat received by the school. She said it apparently was one “among numerous threats” made that day to schools in Ohio and elsewhere.
Zeigler said she was “very pleased” at how the evacuation of more than 500 elementary students went, saying the student body was at a designated alternate location within six minutes. She also thanked public safety and emergency personnel.
Sexton followed up Ziegler’s comments and said a “calm and decisive” response was made to the situation.
Zeigler announced that after-school tutoring will soon start, with 85 students in grades one through five registered to take the extra practice in math or reading once or twice a week.
“I am really pleased with the amount of interest,” said the Holmes principal.
Denver Place Elementary School Principal Karen Long said building staffers are sending students the message that success comes from hard work, practice, and yes, making mistakes and failing, but overcoming those obstacles.
“We are teaching our students they are growing in their knowledge and skills. We call that a growth mindset,” said Long.
Jen Martin served as the host principal at the meeting which was held at her building, East End Elementary. She distributed certificates to East End children from each grade level identified as leaders by their teachers.
Martin read quotes from the teachers about each student while they were publicly recognized, including “chooses daily to make responsible, safe, and respectful decisions” of second-grader Nya Richardson, and “an amazing leader” of first-grader Blas McMullin Sanchez.
Wilmington Middle School Principal Jeff Sherby said that in October there will be attention upon bullying as well as drug prevention.
WHS Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart said staff is gearing up for a site review in the “High Schools That Work” school improvement model.
She also said the high school’s Interact Club members took part in the Cardboard City fundraiser for the local homeless shelter.
In other news:
• Board members approved refunding school improvement bonds, which is anticipated to generate interest savings to the district. After the meeting, DeWeese said the move is estimated to save taxpayers an estimated $135,000 total. The action does not extend the period of the loan, she added.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.