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To:                   All Superintendents, Business Managers and Transportation Supervisors


From:               J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner


Date:                February 20, 2001


Subject:            State of Maine School Bus Purchasing Program


            I am pleased to announce the initiation of a new school bus purchasing program to be administered by the Department of Education..  The purpose of the program is to enable volume leveraged pricing by combining the school bus purchasing requirements of individual districts into a cooperative purchasing effort involving many districts acting together.  The program will eliminate the need for districts to develop technical specifications for bidding purposes and reduce the total amount of effort currently required to manage the bidding process at the individual SAU level.


            The program will be available for buses to be purchased in school year 2001-2002.  The first year we are offering a limited selection of buses with purchase contracts and pricing for conventional type buses in the 72 to 78 passenger capacity range only.  Approximately 80 percent of the school buses purchased each year by Maine school districts fit into this category.  We expect to gain information in this first year that will allow us to expand the program to cover a wider range of bus types and capacities in the future.  The information we gather from this year’s purchases will also allow us to refine the technical specifications to meet a broader range of needs and thus be more attractive to a larger number of districts.  It is our commitment to specify a good bus that will provide safe and efficient service to the districts.


            We are introducing the program on a voluntary participation basis.  Obviously, the more districts that choose to participate, the more volume we will have to offer the manufacturers at one time and the better the pricing will be as a result.  I encourage you to give serious consideration to participating in this program.  With your help, the program will expand, we will be able to improve our rate of bus replacement and we will return significant cost savings to the school districts and the state.


            Details of the program are available through the Department of Education homepage under the School Construction and Transportation Program or by contacting Harvey Boatman at 207-624-6884 or by email at