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To:††††††††††††††††† Superintendents of Schools, Business Managers and Transportation Supervisors


From:††††††††††† J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner of Education




Date:†† ††††††††††† December 20, 2002


††††††††††† The Department of Education has completed the review of all applications for School Bus Subsidy Funds for fiscal year 2004.The results of this review will be posted on the Departmentís Pupil Transportation website at: no later than December 31, 2002.Districts will not receive individual letters notifying them of approvals or denials.


††††††††††† Under the current statute, Title 20-A MRSA, ß 5401, total approvals will be limited to an amount established by the Commissioner of Education with the maximum amount for cash purchases allowed by the statute set at $5 million.The maximum amount established by the Commissioner for cash, note and lease-purchase payments in FY04 is $10 million.All school bus purchases and lease-purchases will be considered separate from transportation program costs and treated as capital expenditures.Subsidy for approved purchases and lease-purchases will be paid in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which a school bus purchase payment is made.Interest on note and lease-purchase payments is treated the same and will not be included in the subsidy calculation.


††††††††††† To receive subsidy on any purchase or lease-purchase, the purchase must have the prior approval of the Department and a district must submit a School Bus Purchase Report (EF-T-20) for each new bus acquired.If a district wishes to change the method or timing of payments for an approved purchase, a request must be submitted to the Department prior to making the change.Districts are also required to submit a properly completed EF-T-20 if they decide to cancel an approved bus purchase.Failure to meet these requirements could result in a loss of subsidy for the district, as well as a decrease in total funds available for bus purchases.


††††††††††† As a final note, the State School Bus Purchasing Program is entering into its third contract year.The program offers favorable pricing for a variety of conventional and transit type school buses to meet your needs.To date, over 140 school buses have been purchased through the program.Pricing, specifications and instructions for participation are available on the Departmentís Pupil Transportation website at the address provided above.Prices listed are guaranteed for buses ordered prior to February 28, 2003.New contract pricing will go into effect after that date.You are encouraged to utilize this program. Your participation will make it possible to negotiate the best possible price for a quality school bus.


If you have any questions regarding school bus subsidy approvals and denials, or the School Bus Purchasing Program, please contact Harvey Boatman at 207-624-6884 or via email at