SJ schools extends bus lease one year

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph school board capped the 2015-16 academic year by approving a one-year bus lease extension Tuesday.

Kathy Hamilton, the district’s chief financial officer, said the extension will be with Midwest Transit Equipment for $10,500.

The extension covers a special education bus, which was part of a lease approved by the board two years ago. The lease will end in June 2017.

“The board had approved to lease a bus a couple years ago,” Hamilton said. “We leased a full-sized bus with a lift (to accommodate wheelchairs). After one year, we were able to turn that bus in and get a needed shorter bus.”

Hamilton said the district had a lease extension before for school transportation. Right now, the special education bus that received the extension is the district’s only leased bus.

The district has the opportunity of lease to own at the end of the extension, Hamilton said.

“These payments would go toward purchasing that,” Hamilton said.

This extension comes after the board agreed to buy three buses during a May 9 meeting. The district bought the three buses from the Holland Bus Co. for about $317,000.

The three buses were paid for from the recent bond election May 3. Hamilton said St. Joseph schools will get the bond proceeds at the end of May.

Other items

Trustees accepted the letters of resignation for retirement from St. Joseph High School counselor Mitzi Tompkins and E.P. Clarke Elementary School fifth grade teacher Brenda Searfoss.

The board approved diplomas for the 2016 graduating seniors.

The board will have a special meeting at 4:30 p.m., Monday in the high school’s Bear Den Conference Room.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on May 18, 2016)

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