By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

Transportation Manager Brad Frink appeared before the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) to update them on the progress of pursuing bus refurbishment in lieu of replacement. “To date, we have replaced three engines, painted four buses, installed AC in four buses, clear-coated three buses, and made other equipment upgrades to extend safe, reliable service life,” said Frink. “It’s an exceptional value for the tax payer. We are using our money very intelligently.” To further demonstrate the savings incurred by refurbishing older buses instead of buying new ones, Frink compared how much more work can be done to existing buses for the same price of one new school bus. “Sixteen buses can be painted, 12 buses can have AC installed, and 6 buses can have engines replaced,” said Frink. “This is a much more responsible use of taxpayer money.”

Frink also reported major success in savings since switching to using biofuels, noting that while the program has a small start-up cost, it has afforded the school system to purchase fuel below state contract prices. “We continue to move forward with running biofuels in Morgan County’s School Bus fleet. This has performed better than expected, reducing fuel component failures since implementation,” said Frink. In addition to being cheaper, it’s better for the air in our communities and for the kids on the bus.” “I appreciate all your efforts. It’s very impressive,” said Nelson Hale, chairman of the BOE. “Refurbishing buses is the way to go. It looks like and rides like a brand new bus.”