LOS LUNAS—The Los Lunas Board of Education recently approved the purchase of 36 new school buses to replace 36 old buses, six of which are propane buses and seven are special needs buses.

Assistant Superintendent Brian Baca and Chief Financial Officer Claire Cieremans presented information on the purchase to the school board earlier this month.

School board vice president Sonya C’Moya expressed concern about the cost of the propane buses in comparison to the diesel.

She said while propane buses in the long run are cleaner and more efficient, the mechanics and maintenance for it might be more costly.

“Through our process and negotiation with the contractors … we are working with all three contractors to see what we’ll be doing to in terms of training,” Baca said.

“They said they’d have training for our mechanics and folks at the warehouse to work on the buses. I think there’s an unknown factor with these buses. We’ve heard that they last up to 10 years and every 14 years we have to replace the buses, so we’re going to have to wait and see.”

The propane buses cost on average $10,000 more than a diesel bus, but Baca said there was no additional cost that had to be contributed from the district because the state is covering the cost.

They estimated the buses will need to be filled up twice a week and will do so in Bosque Farms at AmeriGas, who has a contract with the state.

The buses are scheduled to arrive sometime between December and January with the intention of being used for the spring semester.

“It’d be very feasible for us to go into Bosque Farms and fill up and then come back,” Cieremans said. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll look into doing an RFP for next school year.”

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Anna Padilla, News-Bulletin Staff Writer