St. Charles Herald-Guide

Are our school buses too hot for kids?

By Heather R. Breaux - September 27, 2006

On Wed., Sept. 30, the St. Charles Parish School Board voted on a resolution regarding the possibility of installing air conditioners on all of the parish’s school buses.

Board members voted 7-0 to initiate a study focusing on the total cost and probability of retrofitting 131 of the parish’s 147 school buses. Sixteen buses that are used for special education are already equipped with air conditioning.

The proposal, introduced by board member Cindy Brasher, will be the second study of its kind. The first review was conducted at the end of last summer, and with the cost totaling $890,200, the initial proposal left many board members questioning the feasibility of air conditioned school buses considering that the yearly reoccurring costs for the buses was projected at $73,000.

According to Gary Martin, the district has already attempted to make parish kids’ trip to school each day more comfortable by purchasing school buses topped with white roofs.

Martin said that the white roofs help lower the inside temperature of the bus by 8 to 9 degrees, according to a study performed in July.

The board also passed a vote to purchase eight new school buses for the district, seven regular and one special education bus. Kent Mitchell Bus Sales made a bid of $516,620, which comes in at $16,620 over the budgeted amount, but still ranks in at $62,104 less than the counter bid made by Ross Bus Sales.

School Building Maintenance

The board voted 6-1, awarding a bid to J. Reynolds Roofing to replace the gymnasium roof at Destrehan High School for $398,100, which is $73,000 over the board’s budget.

Project engineer, John Campo said that the costly bid is a result of the complexity of job, which includes having to protect the gymnasium floor and the band practice field from damage.

In other business

School board members also accepted a bid to replace the roof on Albert Cammon Middle School.

The lowest bid was received by Crown Roofing Services in the amount of $290,336, and according to the architect, the bid meets all requirements and the roof has a 20 year life expectancy.

Allemands Elementary, Lakewood Elementary and A.A. Songy Kindergarten Center are currently under review for new air condition systems.