The Canal Winchester Local Schools Board of Education unanimously voted Monday night to purchase two new school buses.

The Canal Winchester Local Schools Board of Education unanimously voted Monday night to purchase two new school buses.

The district will purchase a 71-seat bus for $72,600 and a 54-seat passenger bus for $90,591 from Columbus-based Center City International Trucks.

The 54-seat passenger bus is more expensive because it is equipped with facilities for people with disabilities, said transportation coordinator Beverly Hockman.

The purchase of the two new buses resulted from an efficiency audit of the district's transportation systems that was completed in April, said Superintendent Kim Miller-Smith.

"The transportation audit's suggestion is that we get into a schedule" of replacing buses on a regular basis, Miller-Smith said.

The audit found that the district's 36-bus fleet has an average age of 10.2 years, while the industry standard is an average age of seven years. The audit recommends that the district replace three buses per year.

The district can't afford to replace buses that frequently, but the two new buses will enable the district to begin updating the fleet, Miller-Smith said.

Also Monday night, Miller-Smith reported that the district continues to move forward with plans to implement Race to the Top, a federal education grant program. The grant requires districts to improve student performance in certain areas, such as narrowing the achievement gap between African-American and white students.

Miller-Smith said the district submitted its Race to the Top plan to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) this fall. ODE recommended revising and re-submitting the plan in spring. If ODE accepts the revised plan, the district expects to receive $147,798 in Race to the Top funds over the next four years. It will be used for professional development, Miller-Smith said.

Whether the district begins receiving the money as scheduled on Jan. 3 depends on whether governor-elect John Kasich will make changes to House Bill 1, which implements reforms to the state's education system. Certain changes to House Bill 1 could result in Ohio forfeiting its Race to the Top money.

Miller-Smith said the district is monitoring the situation and receives updates from the Ohio School Boards Association.