- Associated Press - Sunday, March 19, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Public Schools in Montgomery will be getting an upgrade in school buses.

Exactly 158 new buses will be added this year, the Montgomery Advertiser (https://on.mgmadv.com/2nshBVk) reported. The Montgomery County Board of Education announced the new measure during a meeting Tuesday.

The new buses will cost about $11.9 million. They’ll feature improved seat design, more onboard cameras and a geo-location system that can track the bus if it’s stolen.

The board approved the purchase of 21 special education buses that Montgomery Public Schools already has the funds to purchase on Tuesday. Those buses will cost $1.85 million. The 137 regular education buses will cost $10,138,000, a sum that still must be bid on and financed.

The MPS has 263 buses with some that have been service since 2001, according to MPS Transportation Director Mike Cox

MPS expects to sell 158 of the older buses, a sale expected to yield about $1.1 million that will go toward the new fleet.

Cox said the new buses could be a cost-saving effort.

“New buses reduce cost in fuel use and in maintenance cost,” Cox said. “These also have added safety features.”

Transportation was listed as one of the concerns in State Superintendent Mike Sentance’s intervention letter.

The influx of new transportation will mean 60 percent of MPS’ buses will be brand new and 31 will be kept as spares in case of emergency.

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