$40k grant allows SBSD to add First Full Size Bus with Lift

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Thursday October 04, 2012

The School District received a new, full-sized school bus on September 19 equipped with a lift. While the total cost was $85,000, a portion, $40,000, was funded via a grant from the Vermont Air Pollution Control Program. South Burlington resident and volunteer, Tim Cutler, first made the District aware of the grant, allowing ample time for preparing their application. This is the District’s first full size bus equipped with a lift which will improve the ability to provide access to all students.

Superintendent David Young said, “As a district we developed a 20-year stewardship plan a few years ago that identifies several items one of which is our bus fleet. We keep our buses for 10 years and look to take advantage of grant opportunities to help offset cost and enhance energy efficiency.”

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provides incentive funding for qualifying school districts to replace older, more heavily polluting buses with new buses equipped with more advanced pollution control technology to help reduce the exposure of children and school faculty to diesel exhaust from school buses. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to diesel exhaust, even at low levels, is a serious health hazard and can cause respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, lung damage, and increased risk of lung cancer.

According to the DEC, schools are selected to receive this grant based on the following criteria: 1) age of fleet, 2) rate of fleet turnover, 3) size of fleet, 4) student population, 5) annual fleet mileage, and/or 6) ability to complete grant requirements in a timely manner.

School District Business Manager John Stewart said, “The $40,000 represents about half the cost of a new bus. We only had two in the FY 2013 budget so this additional funding made it possible to purchase a third, with a lift to improve access for all students.  The old bus was a 1998 Freightliner which has been destroyed due to its condition.  It is similar to the Cash for Clunkers auto replacement program that the Federal government had for the public several years back.”
Young added, “Our efforts in and out of the classroom around sustainability and environment appropriate practices are important to us.”

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent