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Valpo Community Schools begins transition to propane school buses

Valparaiso Community Schools

Valparaiso Community Schools is adding propane school buses to its fleet. The school board Thursday approved the purchase of four propane buses from MacAllister Power Systems for $593,196 or $587,196 after trade-in.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McCall said the total cost of ownership over their 12-year life span will be similar to or lower than diesel buses. "As we add to our propane fleet with the bus replacement plan, that total cost of ownership will only be driven down because of the increased usage of propane fuel," McCall added.

The school corporation will have to add new infrastructure, including a new propane tank and filling station. McCall said propane buses are just one part of the school corporation's energy management plan, which also involves the installation of LED lighting, among other projects.

The Valparaiso School Board approved MacAllister's bid, despite some frustration over the trade-in allowance of $3,000 a bus.

Board members also finalized the bus replacement plan for the next five years. It calls for the replacement of five to seven buses a year, but it doesn't specify whether those buses will be propane or diesel, giving the school corporation some flexibility.