The Columbia County school board approved spending just shy of $1 million in 1-percent sales tax funds for 16 school buses Tuesday.
While the low bid from Rush Truck Centers of Georgia came in at about $1.4 million, the 66-passenger buses will cost the school system less than $1 million after a $457,000 state allocation.
Each bus costs a discounted $89,843, about $900 less than the state’s contracted rates.
“I feel like this is a good price we’re getting,” said school Superintendent Charles Nagle.
The new buses are expected to arrive in March and will make 75 percent of the school system’s fleet air conditioned.
In other business, Nagle released early kindergarten and total student enrollment projections for the 2013-2014 school year. School officials anticipate the kindergarten population will decrease from 1,767 pupils to 1,725 next year.
The county’s overall enrollment is expected to increase by 420 students. At the start of the 2012-2013 term, the population had risen by 626 students.
The school system currently has more than 24,200 students enrolled.
Board members also tentatively approved middle school rezoning for Columbia, Evans, Greenbrier and Grovetown Middle schools.
A change in the rezoning keeps about 15 students on Blanchard Road and Spooner Drive at Evans Middle instead of moving them to Greenbrier, though board members Mike Sleeper and Kristi Baker were initially hesitant.
The rezoning will bring Evans Middle’s student population over capacity, but the board will allocate funds for construction of 12 additional classrooms at Evans Middle.
The addition is expected to cost $1.5 million.
The board also voted to keep a handful of students living in the area of Louisville Road near Heggies Ridge Drive in the Greenbrier zone.