IPS pitches plan for propane-fueled buses with seat belts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners is planning to bring in 100 new, propane-fueled buses with seat belts for next school year. Administrators pitched the plan at a meeting Tuesday.

IPS officials said they’d like to bring in the buses by July. On Tuesday evening, the board approved the plan.

District administrators said the plan, which includes the use of digital cameras on the new buses, could increase safety and reduce fuel and maintenance costs.

An IPS spokesperson said the plan is to lease the buses for five years and the district would then own the buses. Officials believe they can lease the buses and own them for about $100,000 per bus over the five-year period. The cost includes maintenance provided by the vendor, according to IPS officials.

“If it’s for the safety of our kids, it really shouldn’t matter,” IPS mother Kristina Santos said. “We should all come together for the safety of our children.”

Santos said her 16-year-old daughter takes the bus to school. She said her daughter tells stories about problems on the bus.

“Them not sitting down, causing too much commotion for the drivers. Acting out,” Santos said.

IPS buses do not currently have seat belts.

The seat belts would be made by a Central Indiana company called IMMI. Last year, IMMI installed seat belts on six Westfield-Washington buses. District officials said the seat restraints could prevent students from misbehaving.

According to IPS, more than half their buses are at least 10 years old, and about 40 percent have more than 100,000 miles. IPS plans to phase out the aging buses as they acquire new buses.

IPS would lease the vehicles from a cooperative of the Central Indiana Education Services Center.

IPS officials said they’d like to lease an additional 200 buses in 2017. District officials said they plan to inform the public of any updates to the plan.

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