The city’s school district is taking on $1.91 in debt to purchase school buses and other equipment. The district will borrow the funds through the Passaic County Improvement Authority at an interest rate of 2-percent or less.
School officials said the district will pay back the debt within a five-year period. Funds will finance the lease-purchase of a number of vehicles including two medium-sized school buses.
Acting superintendent Eileen Shafer said the buses will be used for field trips and athletic events. This will save the district money, she said. At present, the district hires outside firms to transport students for field trips and athletics events.
There’s also logistic problems that arise from using outside bus companies that sometimes force trips to be cut short, according to school board member Jonathan Hodges.
The district is also purchasing 15 new vehicles and 67 snow blowers, said James Smith, head of security at the Paterson Public Schools. He said it is also purchasing $350,000 worth of network switches and $50,000 worth of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices. There are other equipment being purchased for facilities.
Smith said the district recently auctioned of 19 vehicles. He said some of them were 15 years old and had 200,000 miles on them.
“We cut down on repairs. Vehicles are not going to need that much repair because they are not 20 years old,” said Smith. He said sometimes repair estimates for old vehicles exceeded the value of the cars themselves.
Smith said the network switches will allow the district to tie in its isolated facility at Sheridan Avenue into its main internet network. The district is paying monthly fees to Cablevision for internet connectivity at its Sheridan Avenue facilities building. With network switches the district will be able to tie the building into its much faster main network, said Smith.
School board members expressed support for borrowing funds to make major facilities improvements earlier in the year. School board members approved the borrowing measure without discussion last Wednesday.