The Atlantic School Board, Tuesday, approved the purchase of a diesel-powered 84-passenger bus, and a propane-powered 64-passenger bus. Transportation Director Dave Eckles had recommended the purchases, because the current 84-passenger bus is on its last legs. Superintendent Mike Amstein quipped “Every time we send it out, we pray for divine intervention that we’ll see it come back again, and it’s not in behind a wrecker.” He said a current 64-passenger bus is going to “nickel-and-dime” the district “to death,” if they don’t do something about it. Amstein said also, the new 84-passenger bus would have a larger under carriage carrying capacity. Using a small, propane powered bus he says, would save the district money, in the long run. Amstein says the problems experienced years ago with propane powered engines has not cropped up in recent years, according to other districts he’s spoken with. The buses are not likely to be delivered to the district until sometime in July.
In other business, the Atlantic School Board amended the 2011-2012 District Calendar, to make May 18th as the last day of school this year. Amstein says the extra day will make up for a February 15th dismissal, when students and staff were allowed time-off to attend the State Wrestling Tournament. The Board also approved an increase in the price of school lunch prices. Last year, the district increased prices by a nickel, but the State says that should have been 13-cents. An Iowa Department of Education consultant told the district it should increase the cost by a minimum of 4.18% for the upcoming year, especially considering the increase in the cost of fruits and vegetables for the National School Lunch Program. The School Board tabled action on changing the Driver’s Education fee for this summer, until its next regular meeting, when more specific information is available on the cost.