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School District Plans Bus Purchases Using Bennett Bubble Funds

Enterprise funds raised at the indoor athletic complex will go toward purchasing six mini buses

Funds raised by the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex will be put toward purchasing new buses for Toms River schools. 

About $1.2 million is in the district's enterprise fund, money raised through the operation of the "Bennett Bubble" at Intermediate East. Six mini buses will be purchased from that fund at a total cost of $394,000, according to the district. 

"I think one of the great things about these enterprise funds is when you can purchase something that's directly relevant to the running of this school district," said schools Business Administrator William Doering at a district budget and finance committee meeting this week. "People see the connection between having these funds and using them for something that you'd otherwise be paying as a taxpayer."

The buses will be purchased through the Middlesex County educational cooperative, a statewide system that Doering said offered the best pricing at about $65,000 each.   

Utilizing enterprise funds is "basically tax relief," said school board member Mike Jedziniak. "It's avoiding cost."

"The bottom line is the taxpayer is benefiting from the enterprise fund," said school board member Joseph Torrone. 

"We think it's not only an appropriate use of those retained earnings but also an efficient use," Doering said. 

The buses are part of an ongoing replacement program designed to ensure that the district isn't faced with a large-scale bus replacement all at once. 

"I want to make clear that this just isn't coming out of nowhere," Doering said. "We have to continue to cycle our buses or we're going to get to a point where we need to replace them in one year and that's going to devastate us."

Enterprise funds were used two years ago, when $500,000 was put toward bus purchases, according to the district. The district also has another $800,000 in enterprise funds raised from the Pine Belt Arena at the High School North campus. 

The district currently uses private contractors for some of its routes requiring mini buses. Another "huge benefit" to the purchase is that those routes can potentially be operated in-house. 

"Once we have the appropriate replacements, we're going to be in better shape to take on more of these types of routes," Doering said. 

The district also discussed preparations to enter into a $121,000 contract for the purchase of Konica copiers for seven buildings — six schools and the central office. That purchase was included in the district's budget and is unrelated to the enterprise funds. 

DAVE 865 February 16, 2013 at 04:06 PM
230-237 were new in September, 2011, last school year, and there were no new buses of any kind this year. Ladies and gentlemen, these mini buses being discussed are for the handicapped, or "special needs" children, these buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts so that wheelchair bounds can get to school, children with walkers, too can have access, and no, these 6 buses will not create more jobs. Scott, as for the big, older buses, don't you think they would like to replace those, just read these comments, nobody wants to pay for anything. Since Sandy blew through, I truly understand what everyone is saying, but somethings need to be done. This is why they want to buy in small numbers, buy 6 this year, 6 next year, 6 the year after, then when you needed to buy 20, all you need is to get are 2.
joe jones February 16, 2013 at 09:01 PM
so jersey tomato , you seem to be a rotten tomato. Not eveyone with a child with special needs get government assistance. why don't you and your kids move to a different town if you are so unhappy or give up your kids seat on the buses and get off your lazy butt and drive your kids to school. What do you for the town except "pay taxes"? Complaining people like you disgust me.
grace February 16, 2013 at 11:58 PM
they put a bathroom inthere yet?
jerseytomato February 18, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Mr. jones - as taxpayers, we are all allowed our individual opinions. While you may not agree, we are entitled none the less. Especially when it comes to how our tax dollars are spent, and what - or whom - they are spent on. You would do well to avoid personal attacks and embody a more appropriate form of verbage when it comes to expressing yourself.
Charles Henry February 18, 2013 at 05:32 PM
You want to save money ? Give computers to the kids and teach them at home via the Internet in real time. People have been getting their masters degree online why not high school diplomas. No transportation costs, no heating or electric bills,no security.discontinue pre kindergarten,and use that money to guarantee associates degrees at community college. Two years after 12 grade would be much more effective than 2years pre k

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