CCPS awarded funds for electric buses

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 18, 2022

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Charlotte County Public School (CCPS) has been awarded close to $1.2 million to be used for three electric school buses and charging infrastructure, but according to school officials, this does not mean CCPS plans to implement electric buses throughout its fleet fully.

“Even if we only utilize these buses for short routes, there is an opportunity for significant fuel savings over the course of the school year,” said CCPS Superintendent Dr. Robbie Mason. “The purchasing of school buses is an expensive venture for the county and we are very fortunate to have been awarded this extremely competitive grant to offset the cost of three new buses.

Mason said the school division is currently examining the details of the grant to identify potential costs and ensure that they are equipped to meet all of its requirements.

According to Mason, if the division accepts the grant funds, they will order the three buses, which will likely take one year to receive. “Since there are no requirements for how we utilize these buses, we will have our bus mechanics familiarize themselves with the buses and test them on our routes to see if and how they can be implemented,” Mason said.

Nearly 400 school divisions across the country were awarded funds for new school buses, but only 12 school divisions were selected in Virginia, many of which were in rural locations.

Mason said grant recipients were chosen from a vast pool of applicants through a national lottery system, with preference given to rural school divisions in high-poverty areas.

The funds awarded come from nearly $1 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Law to help school divisions purchase zero-emission vehicles. As part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition.

The EPA selected 389 applications, totaling $913 million in requests, to support the purchase of more than 2,400 buses. Of those buses, 95 percent will be electric.

Other school divisions in the Commonwealth receiving funds include Carroll County, Floyd County, Franklin County, Galax County, Goochland County, Grayson County, Lee County, Lynchburg, Powhatan County and Wise County.