Special Needs School Transportation Gets an Update

Oglethorpe County School System will spend their government transportation bond on a new bus in 2017.

The bond, worth more than $77,000, will replace one of the school system’s special needs buses, which happens to be the oldest bus in the fleet.

Currently, Oglethorpe County owns just four special needs buses that service all of its schools. Three of the buses travel exclusively within the county while another transports special needs students outside Oglethorpe as well.

The wear and tear on these buses are exasperated by the county’s size, a whopping 442 square miles, making it the largest in Northeast Georgia, according to the county’s official website.

Phillip Todd, Transportation Supervisor

“The issue we have in Oglethorpe county, just like a lot of rural counties is that we have some [buses] that just run in residential areas and we have some that have go out in the county,” says Phillip Todd, Oglethorpe County School System’s Transportation Supervisor.  “We have one of our special needs buses that almost travels almost 200 miles a day going back and forth to Athens and delivering inside the county. Those are replaced a little more sooner than the other buses that go say 25 miles a day.”

According to Todd, the replacement special needs bus that the county is buying will come equipped with a wheel chair lift, and without the maintenance issues of its fourteen-year-old predecessor

“It’s a new model, therefore its more dependable, so we don’t have to worry about students,” says Todd.

The transportation bond, unfortunately, does not completely fit the bill for the new vehicle. The county will still need to pay an additional $3,500 to cover the full cost of the new bus. According to Todd, these funds will come from tax payer dollars.

The purchase order for the new bus was sent out by the school system on February 13th.

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By: Christina Matacotta

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