Two local school districts are in the market for new school buses.

Two local school districts are in the market for new school buses.

On Monday, the Pottawatomie County Board of County Commissioners approved Bethel and Tecumseh school districts to begin the process of getting new buses. Both school districts are using funds from the 0.495-cent Pottawatomie County education sales tax that took effect on July 1, 2016.

Bethel's lease agreement is for three new buses that include a brand new wheelchair accessible bus and two activity buses. The $244,358 payment will be spread over three years, with an approximate annual payment of $84,500.

“The bus fleet is in dire need of repair. The existing busses are in good shape, the mileage is just getting high,” Bethel Superintendent Tod Harrison said. “This will allow us to have an extra bus if we decide to put one in the shop. Right now we are really jumping through hoops if we have a bus go down.

Tecumseh is in the beginning stages of the process as they were just approved to receive bids for two new buses.

“We have been doing repairs on our older buses and that is getting costly,” Tecumseh Superintendent Tom Wilsie said. “This is going to be a huge benefit to our school. We have a lot of buses with high miles and anytime we have activities and have a bus in the shop we are really scrambling. This is going to be a big boost for us.”

In November 2015, voters backed the tax increase that would achieve two things: a 0.49-cent portion -- projected to raise $3.7 million annually in revenue -- is being split between the county's 14 school districts, and the other portion of the tax, .005 cents, will be utilized for the construction, acquisition, maintenance and operation of the One Safe Place Family Justice Center. That amount of tax is expected to bring in $165,000 to $175,000 per year.

You can reach Adam at (405) 214-3940.