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Hillman school board votes to buy propane bus fuel

HILLMAN — The Hillman Community Schools on Monday voted to begin site work preparation for a propane bus fueling system at Hillman Jr./Sr. High School.

The board unanimously approved a cost not to exceed $5,000 to begin the work. Superintendent Carl Seiter said it would be wise for the district to have its own fuel system.

Seiter isn’t sure of the exact cost of the project, but, if it’s more than the $5,000 the board approved, the board will rediscuss the topic. The district’s sinking fund, created through a recent voter-approved property tax, cannot pay for the project or for propane buses.

Seiter said an issue with having the fuel system at the junior/senior high school is security, because there’s no fenced-in property where it would be located, but a security camera would be in range to see it.

The district will leave its bus garage by Hillman Elementary School and just have the fuel system at the junior/senior high school because the needed electrical lines already exist at the high school, making installation easier.

The district voted at its December meeting to purchase three propane buses under a rebate program. Seiter said Monday that the district hasn’t heard if it has qualified for the 40% federal rebate on the propane buses, which would make the cost of the buses cheaper for the district.

In the winter, the district will look into purchasing six propane fuel buses, but the board approved Monday soliciting bids for propane fuel.

“The probability that we’re going to get six new propane buses is very likely,” Seiter said. “Now we’re talking about January or February and being able to fuel those buses.”

Board Vice President Jack Matthias said propane buses don’t need to be fueled every day. The buses can go three or four routes without needing fuel, unless a bus is going on a field trip or sporting event.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.

In other business

The Hillman Community Schools Board of Education on Monday also:

∫ received its yearly audit report. The audit found that the district ended the 2018-19 fiscal year with $4.5 million in revenue, $4.7 million in expenditures, and an ending fund balance of $594,521.

∫ hired Andrea Rouleau as a seventh-grade class adviser.

∫ approved a letter of agreement with Jean Waeiss to assist Superintendent Carl Seiter, who is also the district’s bus supervisor, with transportation duties.