FELCH — Eyes around the U.P. are on the North Dickinson County School as it welcomes a big purchase.

The district has bought two new gasoline buses for the upcoming school year, giving them and Ewen–Trout Creek the only four in the UP. The school currently has seven buses and each logs nearly 20,000 miles per year.

The district has noticed a trend in premature engine failure, prompting the switch from diesel buses to save on both repair and fuel costs. If all goes well, schools in neighboring counties have expressed interest in following suit.

The money for repairs is taken from the general fund, which is used to pay staff and faculty salaries as well as building maintenance and utilities.

“Our general fund dollars [are] tight because we’ve seen a constant decline in enrollment over the last ten years. Every time we lose kids, we lose general fund dollars and we want to maintain our academic programs,” said Cory Roell, Transportation Director at North Dickinson.

“By passing this bond we’re able to not only purchase some buses but were also able to purchase much needed updated technology, some furnishings. There’s a whole list of things were able to do with this bond passing that we would not have been able to do had this bond not passed,” Roell added.

The bond will bring in $380,000 to the district with just under half wholly dedicated to the buses. The millage was approved by nearly 65% of voters in March.