Southampton budget allows for five new school buses

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

For the third-consecutive year, the Southampton County Public School District has purchased a new fleet of Thomas school buses. The five new buses, built by Sonny Merryman Inc., were an expense considered in the adopted Fiscal Year 2016 annual budget and will replace five older vehicles.

Three of the buses are identical to those bought one year ago, and cost $82,082 apiece. Each of these buses holds 65 passengers and is estimated to get 10 to 11 miles per gallon, almost double what the older models attain. The two 77-passenger buses, meanwhile, come with a price tag of $85,915 a piece.

“Our school bus fleet is aging, with several buses over 15 years old,” Superintendent Dr. Alvera J. Parrish said at last November’s fleet unveiling. “The new buses won’t require the extensive maintenance that the older buses did. It will make a tremendous impact for the children who use the buses to get to and from school, as well as those who have to get to and from after-school activities.”

As noted then, these aren’t your typical school buses, either. The buses featuring air conditioning, four security camera, graffiti-proof seats and Wi-Fi capability. The windows are tinted and the roof is painted white, making for a 12-degree temperature difference from the old buses.