Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:33 a.m. May 21 to correct the cost of diesel is $1 more per gallon than propane.
Franklin County Board of Education members became among the first to ride on one of the district’s three new propane-powered buses during the school board’s working meeting Monday.
FCS Transportation Director Brad McKinney drove the board members on the bus from Bridgeport Elementary School to Bondurant Middle School and answered their questions about the bus. He said he is still in the process of choosing which bus drivers will operate the buses and where the buses will be most useful for the district. The buses carry 72 passengers.
The new propane buses are much quieter than the district’s diesel-fueled buses. McKinney told board members that while diesel buses get slightly more mileage per gallon, propane buses will help the district in the long run. Superintendent Mark Kopp said after the meeting that propane fuel costs the district about $1.38 per gallon and diesel costs $1 more than that. He said that FCS has 86 total buses.
“The diesel buses may get slightly better gas mileage, but the cost difference over time favors the propane buses significantly,” Kopp said. “Not to mention the lower maintenance costs with propane buses and the environmental benefits.”
The board approved the purchase of the propane buses in November and the district received them about a month ago. According to the board’s November resolution, each bus cost more than $96,000.
In addition to riding the new bus, the school board held its working meeting at Bridgeport Elementary. Principal Stacy Rutledge gave the board an update on the school’s academics and its facilities. In the past year, Traditional Bank donated $5,000 of the $5,500 cost of the school’s new sign, the school has installed a new scoreboard in its gym and plans to add fences near its playground for student safety, which the board approved at its April 8 meeting and totals more than $10,000.
Kopp also gave the board notice of upcoming important dates for the school district:
- Election Day on Tuesday. Students do not go to school and school personnel will have a professional development day.
- Transportation dinner Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Hearn Elementary
- The Academy graduation at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday at Paul Sawyier Library
- William Cofield High School graduation at noon Thursday at Paul Sawyier Public Library
- Early release on Friday, the last day of school
- Western Hills High School graduation at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Alltech Arena in Fayette County
- Franklin County High School graduation at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Alltech Arena.