Valley Unified School District gets stylish new ride

Students and staff of Fort Kent, Frenchville and Madawaska schools are riding in style.

Kathy McCarty spoke with the superitendent of MSAD 27 in Fort Kent to find out what was purchased with a recently-received grant.

KM - What looks like a rolling advertisement for the St. John Valley is actually a very special school bus. Superintendent Ben Sirois says the scenes by photographer Paul Cyr depict the communities that make up the proposed regional school system.

BS - It really turns a lot of heads when people see this bus go by. This is our Valley Unified Regional Service Center bus, and the idea behind this bus is we wanted to provide a way to have our student groups travel in a little more comfort than they're used to.

KM - The 46-passenger bus is a demo vehicle, with a stepped-up interior, providing more comfort for riders. It comes with bucket seats, seatbelts, air conditioning, and Internet access similar to what's provided in school.

PS - That is gonna keep our students focused on their I-phones, as we all know - that they'll be playing on those phones and playing. But it's also designed for them to be able to do homework andto be able to stay within the realm of the - education.

KM - It also comes with a DVR player and 6 LCD monitors. The bus was made possible through a federally-funded grant for $700,000, which covers the cost of the bus and some other items needed by the schools. Sirois says Fort Kent has already experienced a savings, not having to charter a bus for last week's soccer trips. In addition to SAD 27, SAD 33 and the Madawaska School Department, he says the bus will be made available for other school districts in northern Maine for charter purposes at competitive charter rates. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8