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School district set to receive 20 donated school buses from Clark County

The Clark County School District will donate dozens of school buses to outside school districts in the state, including here in Nye County.

The Nye County School District will receive 20 of the 69 buses CCSD is donating, worth an estimated $80,000.

That’s a significant budgetary boost, given that new buses can cost between $115,000 and $150,000, according to education officials statewide.

“It’s a godsend. It really has been for this district,” said Cameron McRae, district transportation director for Nye County.

NCSD Superintendent Dale Norton echoed McRae’s statements, explaining how important these donated buses are to the district, as the 20 buses they’re receiving will make up about 20 percent of the school district’s fleet.

“Being able to acquire used school buses from CCSD has been, and is extremely important,” Norton said. “It has allowed us to improve our fleet by both median and oldest age.”

McRae expects to get another 10 years or so of service from the buses, which he said always arrive in good condition.

“They’ve been cared for well in Clark. They may be a little ragged at the end of their life, but even if they were to charge us a nominal fee for them, it’d be worth it,” McRae said.

This is just the second year that CCSD donated buses to Nye County, as in previous years the school district has paid for the buses.

“Only the last two transfers, 10 buses in 2015 and this 20 buses transfer 2017, have been at no cost,” Norton said. “Nye County School District has purchased approximately 45 buses since the 1990’s. The purchase price for these transactions have ranged from $1 each to $4,000 each.”

Norton said the buses they receive go through a series of safety checks and the district ensures there is no danger posed by receiving buses with over 200,000 miles already recorded on them.

“There is no safety danger involved in these transactions,” he said. “These buses are thoroughly inspected by NCSD maintenance staff. Any deficiency or defects found are corrected. Prior to NCSD putting one of these buses into service they are also inspected by the Nevada Highway Patrol commercial vehicle inspection bureau.”

The donations aren’t solely a gesture of goodwill on CCSD’s part but have become bargaining chips of sorts. Some trustees over the hump argue the district is losing money by not selling all the buses at auction. Others believe the donations benefit Clark County students by helping to curry favor with other districts regarding state legislative efforts on education issues.

“It’s helpful when important times come up,” CCSD Trustee Erin Cranor said.

At a recent CCSD board meeting, trustees Kevin Child and Chris Garvey questioned the practice.

“It’s not our money to give away,” Child said. “I’m not here to give the Clark County taxpayers’ money away.”

Each of the buses is worth between $2,700 and $5,400, according to the Official School Bus Blue Book, a guide created by Bus Solutions.

Based on an average value of about $4,000 per bus, the Clark County School District donations add up to $276,000 in transportation aid to other districts.

This year, 69 of approximately 160 decommissioned buses will be given to 11 other districts in the state, a total donation valued at upward of $276,000.

Also, about 85 other buses will be sent to auction this year, said Clark County Director of Transportation Shannon Evans, who valued those buses at $260,000, or about $3,000 each. Buses that don’t sell at auction will be scrapped for metal, she said.

“Typically the buses we donate are in a little better condition than the ones that go to auction,” Evans said. “We try to pick through the better equipment and offer it to those counties.”

Norton explained that in the end it’s about school district officials throughout the state collaborating to ensure the success of all children who attend school in Nevada.

“The Nevada State Superintendents are about all students in the state of Nevada,” he said. “We, as a state, are very fortunate to have a group of state superintendents who work together as a team of educational leaders trying to do the best for not only their students, but for the state’s students as a whole.”

Meghin Delaney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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