I would like to commend the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District (COCSD) for going ahead with the Bond issue for the District even at the reduced amount of $15 million. However, I would like to concentrate on needs of the Transportation Department for COCSD.
First and foremost the Transportation Department needs new buses. There are approximately 23, 84-passenger buses, and out of those 23 buses 16 need to be replaced. The average age of those 16 buses is approximately 23 years of age. Of the four smaller buses for Special Ed students, two of those need to be replaced.
Also each Special Ed bus is required by federal mandate to have an aide on board to assist the driver and the Special Ed students. At this time there are no aides who ride the Special Ed buses.
Replacement buses should have air conditioning. The reason for the air conditioning of the buses is the health and safety of the children and the bus drivers. Going from an air-conditioned classroom to a bus that is 90 to 110 degrees for up to 30 minutes or more, is not the best situation for children who have allergies.
The repair shop is in dire need of new equipment. An excellent example is that the mechanics, when changing a tire on a bus, must break each tire down by hand. Each tire weighs approximate 150 pounds without the wheel; the tire size is 11.00 x 20. This procedure is extremely dangerous for the two mechanics.
The reason this procedure is dangerous for the mechanics is because they must remove the complete tire and wheel from the bus by hand, put it on the shop floor then stand on the tire using a tire hammer sledge to break the bead from the tire wheel. The danger in this is using a heavy sledge against rubber and metal, the chance of injury in this is great because the sledge can bounce off the tire and hit the mechanic in the leg causing great injury. An automated tire machine is requested to make this task less strenuous and safer.
Additional updated equipment is needed to make it a fully functional mechanics shop.
The budget for repairs on the buses is extremely limited, and should be expanded to ensure proper repairs and safety of the buses.
Linda M. Walker