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Board member raises question about school buses

Riverhead Board of Education member Laurie Downs questioned where the money came from to convert two school buses into charter buses for field trips, and when that was publicly discussed by the board.

At the March 28 meeting, officials said they had spent $129,000 each for two buses that can be used for long field trips, to reduce the cost of having to rent charter buses. Regular school buses cost about $116,000, officials said.

The buses were converted from propane to diesel fuel and now have bathrooms in them.

Ms. Downs, who was elected last May, said at Wednesday night’s meeting that she emailed Superintendent Nancy Carney and Sam Schneider, the deputy superintendent, on March 30 with these questions and hasn’t gotten an answer.

Mr. Schneider said the money came from a $3.98 million 2014 proposition voters approved. That proposal authorized the purchase of 35 large propane-powered buses and five handicapped-accessible vans over a five-year span. The 2014 proposition passed by a 1,556-941 vote.

Board member Greg Meyer said the board “talked about it many times.”

Ms. Downs, who attended most board meetings for years before being elected, said she’s not aware of it ever being discussed publicly.

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