NEW BUFFALO – Safety features are high on the list of options for a new bus approved for purchase by the New Buffalo Area Schools Board of Education on Monday, Feb. 10.

“Safety. Safety. Safety. Preventiveness and preparedness,” were the watchwords used by Director of Transportation and Technology Ed Lijewski as he described two safety features that will be added to the IC CE Series Bus from Midwest Transit Equipment approved by the board.

The first option is a 360-degree camera, integrated into the bus’s mirror, that eliminates blind spots around the entire bus. The second feature Lijewski is hoping to add is a Predictive Stop Arm that uses radar to predict stop arm violators and gives audible alerts to both students and drivers when it is not safe to cross, helping to prevent accidents before they occur. This feature still needs state approval, a detail Lijewski said he is working on with state legislators and the state police.

The bus, which will be delivered in July 2020, carries a price tag of $95,700. Lijewski said the two additional features will not exceed the $125,000 budgeted for the purchase.

The district has a fleet of 10 buses, with the new one to replace the oldest one. During the year, the district logs 70,000 total miles, including special trips. The district has a total of 11 routes, including one route to Three Oaks, others to career technical education sites, and several for after school programs.

Lijewski said all vehicles recently passed their safety inspections.

In another Feb. 10 matter, Superintendent Jeff Leslie urged board members to attend a presentation on a new recreational authority being formed by the school district with New Buffalo Township and the City of New Buffalo. He said such a organization will be helpful in securing grants for the area’s recreational facilities. The presentation is slated to take place in the New Buffalo Performing Arts Center on Monday, March 30, at 7 p.m.

The board approved hiring the following employees for the 2020 summer lunch program:  Desi Williams as cook and Stacy Gropp as cashier/kitchen helper.

Trustee Frank Magro complimented the volunteers who worked on the decorations for Winterfest, saying, “Kudos to them. They outdid themselves.”

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