TUSD to buy special needs buses
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Feb 28, 2013 | 1813 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In anticipation of an increase in special-needs students coming into the district for the 2013-14 school year, the Tracy Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of five school buses on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

The first bus to be acquired will be a bus designed to hold 14 passengers, according to Dr. Casey Goodall, assistant superintendent of business services.

The 14-passenger bus will be used to transport children who will be attending a new preschool special-needs class at Hirsh Elementary School, 1280 Dove Drive, he said, and the other four buses will be bought as the need arises.

“There is no specific need now,” he told the trustees Tuesday night. “We’re planning for the next school year. It takes three months to order a bus.”

Director of Special Education Dr. Janet Skulina said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the district has six special-needs classes, and they don’t have the room for any more students, creating the need for a seventh class.

The preschool program is expected to have 10 students and run four to five hours a day, unlike the other classes that educate 13 students per class for three hours a day, Skulina said.

The need for more classes and transportation is due to the increasing number of special-needs students entering into the district. Skulina said Tracy Unified has been averaging 50 additional special-needs students per year for the past couple of years.

Some of the new buses may be equipped with such amenities as wheelchair lifts and specialized seating to provide curb-to-curb service for students who are picked up their homes, dropped off at school and returned to their homes at the end of the school day.

According to the staff report, the cost of the 14-seat bus is estimated to not exceed $90,000, while the other four other buses are expected to cost $320,000 in all.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

At a glance

• WHAT: Tracy Unified School District school board

• WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26

• WHERE: District Education Center Board Room, 1875 W. Lowell Ave.

• DETAILS: President Greg Silva and board members Jill Costa, Gregg Crandall, Walter Gouveia, Ted Guzman and James Vaughn were present.
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