LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Union High School District’s Board of Education approved a five-year contract with thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp. for the maintenance and repair of district wheelchair lifts.

The cost is for $1,241 per month, with annual increases not to exceed 5% to be paid with restricted maintenance funds.

The Board voted 3-1, with member Victoria Ruffin dissenting.

The  service agreement is for wheelchair lifts in six theaters at District high schools. Theaters are required by law to have wheelchair lifts. The lifts must be checked monthly and maintenance provided.

“I don’t know why we would go into a five-year agreement with anybody, especially being in a pandemic,” Ruffin said.

The five-year agreement is a requirement by thyssenkrupp Elevator, which manufactures the equipment. The company has serviced the District’s wheelchair lifts for many years.

“We’ve had consistent five-year contracts with them,” Assistant Superintendent Brian Hawkins said.

The District previously had separate wheelchair maintenance agreements with various termination dates. The agreement approved at Thursday’s meeting consolidates all of the contracts under one contract starting on July 1. A 15% savings has been negotiated off the current rate.

“It seems like a definite stronghold to require a five-year contract,” Ruffin said.

Ruffin asked if there were other companies the district could use.

Hawkins explained thyssenkrupp Elevator manufactures and maintains the equipment.

“What you’re saying is that we don’t have anything else to compare it to; that we must vote on this,” Ruffin said. “And our only option is to go into a five-year agreement because we don’t have any other options, for the record.”

“For the record it’s the best deal we have out there to maintain the legality and usability of our wheelchair lifts and of our elevators,” Hawkins said.

“In your opinion,” Ruffin said.

Superintendent David Vierra said they trust Hawkins to be the most knowledgeable in his area.

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