Union (Mo.) R-XI School District’s board of education has agreed to purchase a total of six used Type C school buses and lease three new Type A buses. The district will also use a portion of its CARES Act funding to purchase school bus camera systems for contact tracing. - File photo

Union (Mo.) R-XI School District’s board of education has agreed to purchase a total of six used Type C school buses and lease three new Type A buses. The district will also use a portion of its CARES Act funding to purchase school bus camera systems for contact tracing.

File photo

Union (Mo.) R-XI School District is adding several new and used school buses to its fleet and outfitting them with cameras used for contact tracing that will be purchased using CARES Act funding.

The district’s board of education, at its meeting on Dec. 16, unanimously approved agreements to purchase a total of six used Type C school buses and lease three new Type A school buses equipped with wheelchair lifts. The buses include:

  • Four 2018 International Type C diesel buses from Midwest Transit Equipment, totaling to $263,900.
  • Two 2022 Blue Bird Type C diesel buses from Central States Bus Sales Inc., totaling to $173,194.
  • A five-and-a-half-year lease with Midwest Transit Equipment for three new 2020 Type A school buses equipped with wheelchair lifts, totaling to $5,844 per bus for half a year and $11,688 per bus per year.

The International buses reportedly have between 11,000 and 17,000 miles on them, along with a Cummins warranty and hydraulic control unit warranty, according to a document on the district’s website.

Dr. Mike Mabe, assistant superintendent for Union R-XI School District, told The Missourian that the district has trade-ins that it will be applying to the purchase of the International buses, so the overall cost of the vehicles may be adjusted. He also said that the district would be reimbursed for the cost of the Type A school buses since they will be used to transport early childhood, special education students.

Dr. Steve Weinhold, Union R-XI School District’s superintendent, told the newspaper that the six Type C school buses are expected to be delivered in July, while the three Type A buses will be delivered immediately. The Type A buses will apparently replace 11-year-old bus models that have about 190,000 miles, according to The Missourian, and will be used by the district as backup buses.

In addition to the new and used school buses, Union R-XI’s board approved the purchase of video surveillance camera systems from AngelTrax, totaling to $80,422.94, according to the district's website.

School district officials told The Missourian that the camera systems will be installed on 30 of the district’s school buses using a portion of its CARES Act funding since the cameras will help aid in contact tracing for COVID-19.

The devices reportedly have 179-degree camera angles, pick up audio, and can zoom in to show what a student is looking at on a cellphone without distortion, Mabe told the newspaper. Matt Jones, Union R-XI School District’s technology coordinator, also said that the system allows the district to get real-time notifications in cases where a panic button may be pressed or the bus brakes hard. Additionally, AngelTrax will train school district staff on how to perform any maintenance tasks for the systems in-house, according to The Missourian.

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