Red Oak Junior-Senior High School

Red Oak Junior-Senior High School

(Red Oak) -- Red Oak school officials have backed an updated purchase agreement for a new handicap-accessible bus.

Meeting in special session Thursday night, the Red Oak School board approved a revised bid on a 2024 Micro Bird bus with a wheelchair lift from School Bus Sales out of Waterloo for $105,800. In January, the board approved the purchase of a Thomas Minotour Handicap Accessible bus with a wheelchair lift for over $90,400. However, Red Oak School Superintendent Ron Lorenz says supply chain issues caused that purchase to ultimately be canceled.

"We recently learned that the company Freightliner cancelled our order because they simply can't get the chassis to manufacture the busses," said Lorenz. "We looked at different options including trying to purchase a used bus or actually re-purposing or retrofitting a lift into an existing bus and neither of those were viable options. So we went out and solicited bids."

However, Lorenz added prices had gone up with School Bus Sales presenting the lower of two bids received by the district and emphasized they needed to move quickly to ensure a chassis was available.

"We had a bid from American Bus in Oklahoma, but that bid was significantly more expensive -- it was $123,650 -- so we're recommending the board approve the bid from School Bus Sales in Waterloo for $105,800," Lorenz explained. "As of last week, they had two chassis, but we don't get one until we approve the bid to get them."

The superintendent says the new bus would be just the second in the district with a wheelchair lift. However, he adds the current handicap-accessible bus has begun to show its age, and issues have started to pile up.

"We have experienced a number of mechanical issues and now we're starting to see some structural issues with the bus, and we're going to have to put more money into it here soon, but it's the only wheelchair bus we have," he said. "So, we've got to do something because we may come to a point where that bus is no longer reliable."

Lorenz says the hope is to have the new handicap-accessible bus by spring 2024.

In other business, the board...

--Approved several personnel considerations, including the hiring of Karla Davis as Classroom Teacher at Inman Elementary, Chris Gilbert as Senior High School Assistant Boys Basketball Coach, Jen Bruce as Junior Class Prom Sponsor, and Michael Nordeen as Weight Training Sponsor all for the 2023-24 school year and the resignations of Tristin Johnson as Junior High Girls and boys Basketball Coach and Carter Bruce as Junior High Boys' Basketball Coach to pursue other jobs within the district.

--Approved replacing the heat exchanger on the Inman Elementary Boiler System for $9,063,33

--Approved using ESSER funds to purchase and install new servers for $58,164.34

--Approved issuing a three-year superintendent's contract to Ron Lorenz beginning in the 2023-24 school year.

--Approved the disposal of several equipment items, including two pianos, document cameras, Brightlink Projectors, Toshiba IP Telephones, Meraki Internet Access Points, power equipment, and miscellaneous fixtures using Purple Wave Online Auction Service.

Thank you for reading

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing