DONALDSONVILLE — The Ascension Parish school district's transportation department is hoping to buy nine new, air-conditioned buses for Head Start program students.

Chad Lynch, director of planning and construction for the district, presented a proposed 2018-19 budget for transportation to School Board members at their meeting on Tuesday that includes $810,000 for the nine buses, at $90,000 each.

The total proposed budget for the department is $12.8 million.

For the past several fiscal years, the transportation budget has been in the $12 million range, except for the 2016-17 year's budget of $15.8 million, one that Lynch said was an anomaly due to the August 2016 flood that brought equipment expenses and the purchase of more than 30 buses. 

Earlier this month, the School Board looked at proposed 2018-19 budgets from the technology and maintenance departments as it prepares for the new fiscal year, which begins June 1. 

Also on Tuesday, Superintendent David Alexander announced that Lynn Hathaway, currently the principal of APPLe Digital Academy, the district's alternative school, will be taking on a new role as the director of special education services for Ascension Parish schools, following the June 30 retirement of longtime director Susan Vaughn.

School Board members also heard about a team of volunteers in the Leadership Ascension program who have raised funds to purchase 50 tricycles for youngsters in the school district's Head Start program, a federal program that serves children ages 3 to 4 from low-income families, and are hoping to raise enough funds to purchase 50 more.

The team's goal is to provide 20 tricycles for students to use during recreational time at each of the five settings of the Head Start program: the Ascension Head Start site in Donaldsonville and Donaldsonville Primary on the west bank and G.W. Carver Primary, Gonzales Primary and Pecan Grove Elementary on the east bank.

Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.