30 new school buses coming to RPS 205

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Rockford Public School District will soon see 30 new school buses joining its fleet. The district currently works with more than 260 buses. The Rockford Public School Board says the average age of those buses is going down, so the need to replace them comes around more often.

The school board says they try to replace ten percent of the bus fleet each year to make sure each one is no more than ten years old. Board members say the bus fleet has gotten a little older than what they like to see. Some say the need to replace buses now is even greater since many buses that were brought in in 2010 came with problematic engines. Each bus will cost the district $87,000, but the board says it is in a good financial position to make the purchase.

"Some of the old buses sometimes they break down, then you've got kids sitting on a bus that's broken down, you have to bring in another bus, and they’re late for school. So we don't want that to happen. So we need to keep on top of our fleet and make sure it doesn't get too old,” said Rockford Public School Board member Tim Rollins.

The school board is also looking into adding new technology for buses in its 2019 budget. The new technology is called “Smart Idle," which would allow buses to automatically start during freezing temperatures to prevent workers coming in to start buses over night and on weekends.

Installing “Smart Idle” would cost the district more than half a million dollars. The board says it needs to look into a financial analysis of the technology before implementing it.