LPS: 'We desperately need buses' - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

LPS: 'We desperately need buses'

LAWTON, Okla._ Lawton Public School officials are counting on voters to approve a $30 million bond issue in April, which includes an $8 million proposal to upgrade many of the city's dilapidated school buses.

If this proposal passes, the district will be able to purchase roughly eight new buses a year for the next decade. Superintendent Tom Deighan says he's hoping this money will help close the gap on the more than 100 buses that need to be replaced.

"We desperately need buses," says Deighan.

Come April 1, Lawtonians will vote on the bond issue, which would allow the district to spend $650,000 a year for the next 10 years, to help the district replace old buses with new ones.

"They're high mileage; and, with high mileage comes problems of just normal wear and tear everyday," says Jack Hanna, transportation director for the district.

Hanna says if the bond issue doesn't pass then the school district is "going to spend a lot of money on old buses".

More than 75 percent of the current fleet is more than a decade old. A few buses have more than 300,000 miles on them.

"Everyday we have buses in the shop," says Hanna. "It could be a small problem, to transmissions going out, to drive shafts falling out (or) electrical problems."

Deighan says adding nearly 80 new buses to the current fleet by 2024 is a step in the right direction.

"This is no where near enough to keep us replenished, but it sure goes a long way to keep us from having the oldest buses on the road," says Deighan.

New buses are essential for the district, he says, and if they don't get the money they "will have to take funds from essentially classroom budgets and other areas to make sure we have buses."

The district was able to get a bond issue passed in 2004, but before then they grappled with getting voter-approved money for more than 30 years. This proposed bond would be a relative continuation to the 2004 funding, and there is no proposed tax hike for Lawton residents.  

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