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To:                  All Superintendents, Business Managers and Transportation Directors


From:              J. Duke Albanese, Commissioner of Education


Subject:            State of Maine School Bus Purchasing Contracts, 2003-04


Date:               March 6, 2003


            We have recently concluded the bid process for School Buses for the school year 2003-04.  The contract information and instructions for School District participation can be found through the Department of Education Website at:


            Unlike the previous two years, we were able to negotiate a successful contract with only one vendor, W. C. Cressey and Sons, Inc.  The Thomas/Freightliner school bus will be provided through this contract.


            Vendors representing International and BlueBird did not submit bids that we could accept either due to pricing, product availability or diesel emissions performance.  The existing International chassis will be discontinued later this year, and new BlueBird and International products will not be available from the manufacturers until late 2003 or early 2004.  Likewise, current issues relating to diesel emissions performance are likely to be resolved when the engines in question are certified to meet the 2004 federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards in January 2004.  Once the new products are in full production, if there is sufficient interest on the part of school districts, the State will consider requesting bids for a given quantity of school buses from vendors representing either or both of these manufacturers.


Additional information regarding the bid comparison is provided on the web site listed above, under the “New Contract Vendor Pricing Spreadsheet”.


            The strength of the State School Bus Purchasing Program lies in the price and quality leverage that volume ordering provides.  We ask you to go through the State Purchasing Program if you are going to purchase a new school bus.  At a time when school budgets are very tight, the cost advantage provided to school districts through this program is between $2700 and $3100 per vehicle, depending on the size of the bus being considered.


            If you have any questions about the State of Maine School Bus Purchasing Program, please contact Harvey Boatman, Education Specialist for Pupil Transportation, by email at