FLETCHER, OK (KSWO) -Fletcher Public Schools is asking for the public's help replacing buses that need to be retired from their routes.
Voters will decide on a bond issue to provide $220,000 for two new buses and an SUV on Tuesday, April 5. School officials in Fletcher say 35 percent of those enrolled at Fletcher ride the bus, so they're hoping voters will recognize the need.
Each of the full-sized buses cost about $85,000. The SUV will carry smaller groups of students and staff to school activities.
Fletcher Public Schools Superintendent Shane Gilbreath says the two buses that need to be replaced are 15 years old and have more than 100,000 miles on them.
"Every year, I have got to do a lot of maintenance on them. At least once a year, one of them breaks down on the route and I have to go out and replace them and it's just a hassle and we want our kids to be safe. We don't want the parents to worry about how they are getting to school," Superintendent Gilbreath said.
Superintendent Gilbreath says when one of the buses does break down, he has to pay about $400 to $500 just to have it towed to Lawton, and usually it's out of commission for several weeks.
"I've had them break down on routes. I've had them break down on the way to baseball games. I've had to go replace them on the side of the interstate going all the way down to almost the Texas line and one broke down right after the toll gate," he said.
Superintendent Gilbreath says rural roads like North Drive are covered in hundreds of potholes, which causes the school buses to fall into disrepair.
"You can't avoid the potholes in them, it just beats them to death and shakes our mirrors off and just shakes screws loose inside the cab and everything else," he said.
Superintendent Gilbreath says in the long run, the new buses will save on upkeep and when it comes time for their yearly inspections the new buses are guaranteed to pass without any extra costs.
"We want to spend the money on the students. We want to keep them safe and of course we don't want to raise your taxes," he said.
Superintendent Gilbreath says he wants the voters to know that this bond will not raise property taxes because a previous school bond will end when this bond begins.
If the bond passes, Superintendent Gilbreath expects the new school buses to last the district about 10 years.
You can learn more about other April 5 elections here.