Pupil Transportation

Lease and Lease-Purchase of School Buses

Sections 1709(25)(i), 2503(12-a), and 2554(19-a) of the Education Law authorize a board of education to lease a motor vehicle for the transportation of students for one school year, and for up to five years where authorized by the voters of the district. Where the term of the lease is for one school year or less, the board is not authorized to enter into another lease for the same or an equivalent replacement vehicle, as determined by the Commissioner, without obtaining the approval of the voters. A lease of one year or less is limited to a single school year; it must begin and end in the same school year.

General Municipal Law 109-b allows a school district to enter into an installment purchase agreement for a bus. The expense associated with this transaction would be considered to be a bus purchase and be eligible to receive transportation aid at the time title transfers to the district.  The expense associated with a bus purchase should be submitted to the Office of State Aid.

A multi-year lease may actually be a lease-purchase. When the life of the contract is equal to the useful life of a school bus, which is generally determined to be five years (Section 11 of the Local Finance Law) and the total lease payments at the end of a five-year lease equal or exceed the cost of such school bus, the bus is acquired (becomes school property) under the provisions of a lease purchase (GML 109-b).

If lease payments are less than the life and cost of a school bus, the lease will be treated as an operating lease and will be aided accordingly.   

Bus purchases and leases agreements must be competitively bid.

One original copy of the lease agreement, Affidavit of Publication and copy of board resolution or voter authorization must be filed with the Office of Educational Management Services, Room 1075 Education Building Annex, Albany, New York 12234. All submissions must include information relative to terms of lease as well as a clear description of buses including year, model, VIN and passenger capacity.  Notice of approval will be mailed to the school district. If you have any questions regarding such leases, you may call Paul Overbaugh or Heather Zogas at (518) 474-6541.

Emergency School Bus Leases

A board of education may, pursuant to Section 156.6 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, lease a school bus from a private vendor, without competitive bidding, under emergency conditions which shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. strikes;
  2. removal of bus from service due to:
    1. accident;
    2. mechanical failure; or 
    3. fire, theft, vandalism;
    4. delay in delivery date

Within ten days from the date the emergency occurs, a statement explaining the transportation emergency and its estimated duration shall be forwarded for approval to the Department’s Pupil Transportation Unit, Office of Educational Management Services, Room 1075 Education Building Annex, Albany, New York 12234.

The Department’s approval shall be for a period not to exceed 90 calendar days unless the emergency still exists. In such event, a request, setting forth in detail the reasons for extension of the emergency, shall be filed with the Pupil Transportation Unit for approval. If you have any questions regarding emergency leases, you may call Paul Overbaugh at (518) 474-6541.

Last Updated: December 9, 2019