Clearview trustees launched their “evergreening” process for the replacement of school buses at their Mar.1 board meeting.
Targeting buses which are more than 10 years old, Clearview is seeking to purchase an average of four to five buses each year in order to replace the aging fleet.
According to a management report, a clear evergreening process would allow for effective budgeting, ensure the stability of the active fleet of buses and help to keep maintenance costs down.
Associate Superintendent, Peter Neale and Director of Transportation Services, Maryann Wingie presented trustees with the results from the request for quotation sent out after the Feb. 8 board meeting.
Vendor proposals from Kirkman (Bluebird) at $503,687.08, Western Canada IC (International) at $500,973.60 and Bus Centre (Thomas) at $494,562.31 were reviewed.
The tender process includes an evaluation on cost, references, availability of parts, compatibility with existing fleet, proven durability on rough roads, warranties and delivery time.
Further, feedback received from bus drivers regarding the benefits and considerations of buses in the fleet was included in the scoring.
Out of 100 points, Kirkman scored 77, Bus Centre scored 88 while Western Canada IC scored 92, receiving the highest rating for value and dollars.
School buses are amortized over a 10 year period.
The amortization is charged against the transportation budget and established as a capital reserve.
The amortization budgeted for vehicles in 2017-18 is $443,986.
Adding restricted reserves of $26,501 provides a total $470,487 budgeted for the purchase, an amount lower than the quotes received.
Facing a choice between staying within the current amortization budget and restricted reserves or staying on track with the division’s evergreening process, trustees accepted senior administration’s recommendations and moved forward with Clearview’s evergreening goals.
Choosing to replace five buses this year, trustees passed a motion to award the purchase of one 46-passenger bus, two 52-passenger buses, and two 70-passenger school buses to the highest ranking tender, Western Canada IC, for $500,973.60 (inclusive of net tax).
The purchase will be funded using the current year amortization and restricted reserves, with the difference to be addressed through Transportation Services reserves and/or unrestricted reserves.
Clearview has 46 active fleet buses, and three active extracurricular buses.
With approximately 46 active routes, transporting approximately 1,272 students daily (or 54 per cent of the total student population, excluding Hutterite colonies),
Clearview has a transportation system that travels over 1,434,627 kilometers per year.
Annual Capital Plan
After a thorough review of the 2019-20 Capital Plan, trustees approved to submit to the Alberta Government two capital priorities.
First on the list is a request for two modular units for Castor’s Gus Wetter School.
Enrollments have increased over the years and future projections indicate that enrollments will continue to rise.
Class-size pressures at the elementary and junior high level and a lack of classrooms at the high school level is challenging the scope of programming.
With an average cost per modular of $330,000, plus construction expenses to attach the modular to the existing structure, a cost estimate of $850,000 to $1,000,000 is expected for the project.
Clearview’s second priority is the modernization and gymnasium at Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Complex (Jr. High section).
The estimated cost of this project, based on the last evaluation and with cost escalations, sits at $13,800,000.
Trustees moved to submit the 2018-19 Capital Plan to Alberta Education for their consideration, with the decision to proceed with the projects to be made by the Alberta Government.
Early Learning Programs
Early Learning and Literacy coordinator Wendy Coppock provided trustees with an update of Clearview’s “Start Right” preschool and kindergarten programs.
Ms. Coppock explained the early intervention assessment processes utilized in these programs.
At the “Start Right” level, the Early Years Evaluation Direct Assessment (EYE-DA) tool evaluates school preparedness of individual children.
At the kindergarten level, the Early Years Evaluation – Teacher Assessment (EYE-TA) tool determines students’ competency levels while the STAR Early Literacy tool measures vocabulary, phonics, language and numeracy skills.
Coppock went on to highlight the numerous intervention tools available to meet the needs of early learners including access to Alberta Health Services speech, language and occupational therapy resources.
According to Coppock, focusing on early evaluations and identifying appropriate interventions helps to ensure success for all students.