Emergency Purchase of Replacement Bus Due to Loss

Q. What do I have to do if I need to make an emergency bus purchase?

Paragraph (a) of subdivision (25) of Section 1709 of the Education Law states that:

  • "Any replacement of a motor vehicle or vehicles, necessitated by damage to or loss of such vehicles, owned by the school district and used for the transportation of pupils residing within the district, may be purchased by the board of education without voter approval, using any unencumbered funds in the general fund or by the issuance of budget notes in accordance with section 29.00 of the local finance law, in addition to any available insurance proceeds."

Voter authorization is not required for the purchase of a school bus which is a replacement for another vehicle which has been damaged beyond repair, or unexpectedly removed from service. Such vehicle must require replacement under emergency conditions, which include but are not limited to, damage or loss due to accident, fire, flood, hurricane, theft or vandalism.

Vehicles that simply no longer pass a NYS DOT inspection are not eligible for emergency replacement under this provision.

Purchasing one or more buses under emergency conditions does not alter the authority of the Commissioner of Education to approve the purchase of a school bus. Emergency bus purchases must be approved by the commissioner to generate Transportation Aid.

Districts should enter buses purchased under emergency conditions into the automated Bus Purchase Approval system in the State Aid Management System (SAMS), in the same manner as all buses are entered. However, the district must respond ‘Yes’ at Entry #18, which asks if the vehicle was purchased as an emergency replacement. Details regarding the emergency purchase must be provided at Entry #19 and the date the board resolution was passed for the emergency purchase must be provided at Entry #20.

Districts must retain documentation that substantiates the emergency purchase information certified to on the bus purchase approval form, and must provide such documentation upon request of the Commissioner.     

School districts should not submit to the State Education Department any request for approval of emergency bus purchases other than on the SAMS bus purchase approval form as described above. Nor should districts submit any documentation to the State Education Department, paper or electronic, until a request for such documentation is received from the State Aid Office.

Webpage Reviewed by IGH, January, 2023

Last Updated: January 13, 2023