AUSTIN (KXAN) — When temperatures get hot, we turn on the air conditioning to cool down, but that’s not an option for some Austin ISD school buses.
There are 173 school buses in the district with no AC. That impacts about 8,000 students.
AISD plans to replace all of the buses that don’t have AC, that is if voters approve the district’s proposed $2.44 billion school bond package in the Nov. 8 election.
Nearly $25.74 million of the proposed bond funding would be used to buy the new buses.
“You hear a lot from the kids,” said AISD bus driver Christopher Wade. “Like, it’s hot, turn on the AC and it is hard to tell them we don’t have AC on this bus.”
Wade says longer routes can be miserable if there is no AC.
“Sometimes you have a route that you can’t stop on and it will last two-plus hours,” said Wade.
Benjamin Grubert is a student in AISD and his bus doesn’t have AC.
“The ones with AC, you don’t really notice the temperature at all, but the hot ones are very noticeable,” said Grubert.
There are fans on some of the buses and the windows are opened during the ride, but Grubert said on particularly hot days it isn’t fun sitting in the heat.
“The windows are open so it is bearable…sometimes,” Grubert said.
“It is hard, It is hard to be on the road without air conditioning in Austin,” said Kris Hafezizadeh, Austin ISD’s Executive Director of Transportation & Vehicle Services.
AISD’s transportation director said the plan is to replace all of the buses that don’t have AC, but that’s if voters approve the district’s proposed $2.4 billion bond package in the November election.
What if the bond package doesn’t pass?
“Then we will go back to the drawing board. What do we need to do to make sure our students and staff are taken care of?” Hafezizadeh said.
The new buses would also have added safety features, with three-point, lap-shoulder belts, compared to only lap belts in the current buses.
The new vehicles also would lower the district’s fuel costs due to better fuel efficiency.