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East Baton Rouge (La.) district replaces buses damaged in 2016 flooding

School system has bought 106 vehicles since August.

The East Baton Rouge Parish (La.) school system has acquired an additional nine diesel-powered school buses with the goal of putting them on the road this week when classes resume after the Christmas break.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the new buses, as well as nine propane-powered bus that are scheduled to arrive in 60 to 90 days, are the latest in an ongoing effort to replenish a school bus fleet badly damaged by August 2016 floods.

A total of 114 district buses were sidelined during those rains. These 18 new buses will bring to 106 the number the parish school system has bought since then. The purchases will bring the size of the fleet overall to almost 600 buses.

Gary Reese, the district's chief of Student Support Services, says he hopes to acquire 40 to 50 more buses in July, when a new fiscal year starts, to bring the size of the fleet back to pre-flood levels and replace some aging vehicles.

The latest school buses seat up to 71 children apiece. The price per bus ranges from about $90,000 for a regular education bus to about $100,000 for a special education bus.

The school system is paying for the diesel buses with some of the more than $5.6 million that FEMA has provided to cover damage to school buses during the flood.

For the nine propane buses on order, Reese is drawing on a $773,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant the district received in 2016.

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