Pawhuska Public Schools making arrangements for vehicle purchases

Robert Smith

Pawhuska Public Schools has been making arrangements for new student transportation vehicles, based on the increased purchasing power that voter passage in September of a $250,000 transportation bond issue has given the school system.

Transportation Director Dean Hix said Pawhuska Public Schools is planning to acquire two 77-passenger buses by January, after the Christmas break. These buses will be 2017 models that were leased to a school system in the Oklahoma City area and still have warranty coverage, he said. The buses will have two-way radios and air conditioning, he said. They will also have dashboard cameras, installed for free by the vendor because Pawhuska is the first school district to ever ask for that feature, Hix said. The dashboard cameras will record footage of what happens on the road in front of the buses, he said.

One of the 77-passenger buses will also do double duty as a backup school activity bus, and will be outfitted with chrome wheel covers and the language “Home of the Huskies” on the roof, Hix said.

The school system is also planning to acquire two 29-passenger mini buses by March 20-25, Hix said. These mini buses will be 2021 models, he said.

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Pawhuska Public Schools hopes to acquire one more return-lease bus, he said.

Hix said the school system is very appreciative of voter approval for the bond issue that is making vehicle acquisitions possible. He said Pawhuska Public Schools has also been able to get two vehicles that were out of service back onto the road. One of them had been disabled when a squirrel ate electrical wiring, he said.

“We should be pretty good once we get those two 77-passenger buses in,” Hix said. That will allow the district to take care of normal school-day bus routes and also get athletic teams and the band to locations where they need to be, he said. The school system currently has enough drivers for its routes, as well as one substitute, he said.