Pratt USD 382 Board of Education members weighed the pros and cons of bus styles at the meeting Monday, March 11, 2019.

There are differences between Freightliner and MCI buses, but whether or not one brand is better than the other for USD 382 use remains to be seen. Pratt Board of Education members weighed the pros and cons of each type as they considered what model to purchase when replacing an aged bus in the current Greenback fleet at their March 11 regular meeting.
Some time prior to the meeting, board members Jennifer Hopkins and Mark Finchman, along with district staff Suzan Patton, Tony Helfrich and Clint Jones went to Garden City to get an overview of that district's Freightliner and MCI buses.
"I was very impressed with the Freightliners," Hopkins said. "The drivers and transportation director had nothing bad to say about them."
Superintendent Patton said the Freightliners looked more like semi-trucks, had wider seats (19" compared to the usual 17"), they had seat belts in them and were a lower-profile vehicle.
"The transportation director at Garden City said they didn't have to ever shut down the Freightliner buses because of high wind danger. They have a lower center of gravity," Patton said.
Fincham reported that there was more storage capacity in the MCI buses, needed especially for football and band trips, but the MCIs did not get as good fuel mileage as did the Freightliners (4 mpg. compared to 12 mpg.).
Helfrich said that seating capacity per size of bus was comparable with room for 50 students in the Freightliner buses and 54 in MCI buses. He also said that, according to the Garden City transportation crew, maintenance expenses were much higher for the MCI buses, as much as three times higher, than for Freightliners.
MCI (Modern Coach Industries) is a Canadian bus manufacturer while Freightliner is a division of Daimler Trucks North America.
Patton said she would get projection sheets of costs and specifications made for board members by next board meeting as consideration continues on future bus purchases.
On a related transportation issue, board members perused blueprints for a new district transportation building. A new football practice field, a new elementary school building, shelter for buses and new football locker rooms are all linked to the transportation building project.
In other business, board members:
* heard from Maintenance/Facilities Director David Inslee that the high school freezer had to be replaced because the compressor went out, a sewer-backup problem in the Ace Building had been dealt with, Super Ninja Wall mounts have been put up in the gym for climbing brackets, cargo net and column platforms
* approved a bid for $72,144.80 from KCAV to replace the sound system in the Liberty Middle School auditorium with total district cost more in the $56,000 range due to discounts and package combination.