Anna receives funds to replace school buses

By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]

ANNA — Thanks to a federal grant award, Anna Local Schools will have an easier time replacing school buses this year.

Anna Local Schools recently received $40,000 from the 2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates, which will go toward replacing two school buses in the district’s rotation, which are from 2002 and 2004, respectively.

“A new school bus costs over $100,000, so the $40,000 from the grant helps tremendously,” Anna Local Schools Superintendent Andy Bixler said.

Anna Local Schools currently utilizes 16 buses, which drive 12 morning and afternoon routes each day. Approximately 600 students ride the bus on a daily basis. The district has already ordered the replacement buses and expects them to arrive in late spring. The buses will most likely be ready for the 2022-2023 school year.

The 2021 DERA School Bus Rebates winners were announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A total of five Ohio school districts received grant funding to replace school buses, with $1.2 million in rebates directed toward 49 school bus replacements in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Nationwide, the $10 million in DERA rebates will assist with 444 school bus replacements across the country.

In addition to the DERA School Bus Rebate, Anna Local Schools has been awarded $180,000 through the School Bus Purchasing program for the purchase of four buses over the next two years. Coupled with the DERA School Bus Rebate, the district has been awarded a total of $260,000 to put toward replacing school buses.

“The district has been purchasing a new bus each year for the past 15 to 20 years. These two grants have afforded us the opportunity to buy four new buses over the next two years,” Bixler said.

In the coming weeks, EPA plans to announce a new Clean School Bus rebate program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion over five years, to replace existing school buses with low or zero-emission school buses.

“Diesel exhaust is especially harmful to children, whose lungs are still developing,” Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore said. “The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act protects children’s health and the environment by replacing older school buses with newer, cleaner ones.”

These awards are EPA’s latest round of funding for longstanding DERA School Bus Rebates. This year’s program awards approximately $10 million nationwide to fund the replacement of 444 old diesel school buses with new electric, diesel, gasoline, propane, or compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses meeting current emission standards. This program will award approximately $1.2 million in funding for 49 school bus replacements in EPA Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Tribes.

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]