RPS to get 78 new buses this fall - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

RPS to get 78 new buses this fall

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

It's now official; Richmond schoolchildren will be on new school buses in Richmond come this fall.

After a vote this week, Richmond Public Schools is going to be able to get 78 new buses on the road by September.

When parents found out that nearly half of the buses their children ride to school every day are at least 15 years old, they wanted the administration to do whatever it could to make them safe.

"The kids should mean a little bit more than that," Romonia Lewis said. "Even if we have to pay more taxes to do it, I think that it's worth it."

It turns out that the program the school board approved means more taxes aren't necessary. The vote allocates $1 million per year for the next seven years. That gets RPS 78 buses, but it gets the system those buses right now.

The board decided to lease-to-own the vehicles, instead of buying just a few each year.  At the end of the seven years, RPS will own all of the buses outright.

In the past, the district has been the target of criticism when it comes to spending public money. School board Vice-Chair Kristen Larson explains this is a new way of thinking.

"We feel really good that this is a good investment of tax dollars for the next seven years," she said. "It will benefit the system. It will benefit our students and it will just make us more efficient overall."

Larson believes the influx will save money on other costs and those dollars can then go back into the system right away.

"The benefit of that is the savings we'll realize immediately from having newer buses on the roads and the efficiency from the gas, the efficiency with the maintenance," she added. "We spend a lot of money on maintenance."

Additionally, all of these new buses will be equipped with cameras on the inside.

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