The Highland Future Farmers of America now have a bright yellow school bus for their own exclusive use.
“We are in the bus business now,” said Don Schmitz, an FFA adviser.
Back in February, FFA alumni approached the last school board and offered to pay for the bus, if it was devoted solely to for use by the FFA. The alumni also asked the board to pay for fuel and storage, and the board approved that, as well as accepting to pay for 100 percent of bus repairs.
In a proposal to the board, the alumni wrote that they wished to give the bus to the group to help “eliminate scheduling conflicts with the activity bus, inconvenience when renting vans, reduce cost and provide more opportunities for students to travel during class periods to local businesses and community entities to research career options, volunteer and job shadow.”
During the school board meeting on Oct. 23, Schmitz, relayed that the organization officially has the bus, which is being stored on school property at the FFA shed.
Schmitz said that at the end of September, they took a trip up to Kankakee, Ill., to check out the bus.
“It was in fantastic shape,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz said they wanted to take the bus home that day, but it needed to be tuned up. All in all, Schmitz said that the bus cost a little under $30,000 and has about 130,000 miles on it. He said the bus fits the needs of the group, because it is the right size, and it has everything necessary to transport the students to FFA events and class events.
“The only downside to it was that it didn’t have air-conditioning,” Schmitz said.
Each of the three FFA advisers are getting licensed to drive the bus, according to Schmitz. He said this means they have to take some behind-the-wheel training and get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Currently, he said all that is left is for the advisers to get their CDL.
Looking at the future, one day Schmitz said the group hopes they will be able to drive the bus to a donated farm for class activities.
“It is a nice bus, and it is going to meet our needs for quite a while,” Schmitz said.