The entire Hays CISD school bus fleet is set to be equipped with seat belts over the next few years.

The HCISD board of trustees approved the purchase of 30 2025 model school buses and material to retrofit 13 existing buses during its regular meeting April 22.

How we got here

The purchases come after a fatal Tom Green Elementary bus crash that prompted the board to approve a five-component plan to accelerate equipping all district buses with seat belts during a special board meeting April 15.

The action taken

According to agenda documents, the 30 new buses will cost $4.7 million, which will come from the 2023 bond.

Chief Operations Officer Max Cleaver said the new buses are still on a 12-month timeline once they are ordered, meaning they will be delivered intermittently throughout that period.

The district also has 13 2016 and 2017 models that are not equipped with seat belts, per agenda documents. The purchase of retrofitting materials includes 299 large seatbacks and 13 rear exit seatbacks, all of which will have belts built into them, for $194,441.

Cleaver said while district staff should be able to install the seatbacks, they are requesting a $202,800 contingency for the contractor to install the seats in case staff are unable to complete all of them but will invoice only if their services are used.

The new buses and retrofitting material are expected to be ordered this week, Cleaver said, with the retrofitted buses planned to be ready by the start of the 2024-25 school year.

Also of note

The board also approved an item to charge the Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee to develop recommendations for a 2025 bond.

According to April 15 agenda documents, the FBOC could consider adding the purchase of more buses with seat belts to the bond to accommodate potential new bus routes.