St. Charles needs new bid for 12 school bus bodies

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 11, 1999

By STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / Febuary 11, 1999

LULING – Complications with a bus manufacturing company have delayed the St. Charles Parish School System from receiving new school buses. Thesystem also faces increased costs.

The board moved Wednesday to accept the bid of a new company for the bodies of 12 new buses, as the original bidder was unable to fulfill the contract.

The new bidder, Kent Mitchell Bus Sales, Inc., represents Thomas Body Co.and is charging more than $2,000 more per bus than the original bidder, Carpenter Body Co.

The board authorized the transportation department more than a year ago to purchase new buses, and the bids were separated into chassis and body bids. The chassis bid was awarded to Freightliner, and Carpenter Body Co.was awarded the bodies bid.

Because of financial difficulties, Carpenter Body Co. was unable to fulfillthe contract, and the school system is now burdened with loss of time and money.

“We’re more than two years behind on purchasing buses, and now the school board has to put up more than $20,000 over the original amount,” said board member John Smith.

Smith questioned where responsibility for the lost funds should fall and why the school system was not in some way protected from the mishap of the contracted company.

“Responsibility for this lies somewhere, and we need to be accountable for these funds,” Smith said. “More than $20,000 isn’t pocket change in myopinion.”Smith made a request to have an attorney review the situation, and Superintendent Rodney Lafon said he will take measures to ensure that this occurrence is not repeated.

In other business, the board heard a presentation on the performance of an energy savings program which was instituted in the school system to cut back high energy cost.

Representatives from Seimens Building Technologies, Inc., Landis Division,said savings throughout the 1997-98 school year more than cost of the program and showed a good cut in energy usage.

Because of various renovations at schools throughout the parish, the energy cuts were probably not as high as they could be, but results were still more than satisfactory, a representative said.

Should energy savings not exceed cost of the project at any given point in the future, the company will reimburse the school system.

The board also heard a presentation regarding the St. Charles ParishCommunity Education Program and its services. Community Education wasinitiated in the parish in 1977 and has since made its services available to the public.

Only 10 classes were available 22 years ago, and now more than 100 different courses are open to the St. Charles Parish community andmembers of surrounding parishes.

Courses available include self-help, educational, recreational and vocational instruction. The program is a non-profit service and functionsvia community involvement.

The board also: Went into executive session to address the expulsion appeal of a Hahnville High School student. The board upheld the expulsion and grantedpermission for the student to pursue a GED beginning in the fall.

Accepted the heating, ventilation and air conditioning roof top replacement units at Hahnville High as substantially complete. Theoriginal air conditioning units were installed in 1975 and had deteriorated as a result of normal use. Cost for the replacement was $669,013 fromCapital funds.

Approved accounts payable for the month of January in the amount of $2,782,673.52.

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