BELLE — Hutcheson Ford located in St. James will be in Belle on Oct. 4, holding a Ford Drive 4 Ur School event that allows residents over 18-years-old to test-drive a vehicle in exchange for a …
BELLE — Hutcheson Ford located in St. James will be in Belle on Oct. 4, holding a Ford Drive 4 Ur School event that allows residents over 18-years-old to test-drive a vehicle in exchange for a $20 donation to the Maries County R-2 School District.
“They are going to come do a fundraiser in town and bring some cars over,” said Dr. Lenice Basham, superintendent. “They are going to donate $20 for every person that does a test-drive.”
The event will take place at the Bland Middle School From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and Belle High School from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donations from Hutcheson Ford cap at $6,000 per event.
Participants must be 18-years-old or older with a valid driver’s license and auto insurance. They must also pre-register for the event at https://d4ur.com/49D6K and will need to complete the post-survey for the donation to qualify.
“They take a five minute drive, a survey afterwards, and the school receives a $20 donation,” Basham said.
Hutcheson Ford approached the school with the idea.
“We thought it was a pretty easy way to get some money,” Basham said. “They will set up a tent and have Wifi, and it shouldn’t take them very long. They have done it for other schools.”
Board President Joey Butler II said to make sure the group beings diesel trucks, and Basham laughed.
“The seniors may also participate if they are 18-years-old, which is kind of nice that we can have our seniors participate also,” Basham said.
Four 2019 or newer vehicles, including a Ford Mustang, will be available for test-drives. There is a limit of one donation per person and household. No purchase is necessary.
A grant opportunity may be available for the district receive 25 percent off the cost of a school bus that is two years old or newer. Basham asked the board’s permission to proceed with applying for the grant.
“It is the Volkswagen Trust Grant,” Basham said. “Is anyone familiar with it? It is through DNR.”
If the grant may only be applied to a bus that is a 2019 or 2020 model.
“It puts it at a kind of costly bus,” Basham said. “But Tony (Gieck, transportation director) wondered if we started looking for a used 2019 bus and applied for the grant — we are probably going to have to have another bus next year — this would pay for a portion of that bus if we applied.”
Basham said unless the board was opposed to it, she was going to write the application, and even if the district is approved, they can still say no.
“We can hold off spending it all the way to July or August, which is the next fiscal year,” Basham said. “At any time, we can say no, our budget doesn’t work that way anymore.”
Sometimes buses are leased for two years through companies, and those may be purchased through the Volkswagen grant. The grant does specify the bus must be a diesel, biodiesel, or electric bus. Basham said Gieck was not interested in an electric bus.
“Not unless it comes with a 12 year warranty,” Butler said.
Basham said he was concerned about what the amount of gravel would do to an electrical engine.
“I think it sounds good to get it started,” Butler said. “I suggest we check the price difference though. Normally about this time we would purchase a 2017 or 2018 that is off of that same lease. If it is only going to cost $70,000 and these other buses are $85,000 even after the 25 percent, that is probably not going to be right for our district.”
Basham agreed, and said if they could get a deal, they could maybe consider it.
The board’s consensus was to move forward with applying for the grant.