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This story has been corrected to reflect the KCR-1 has a 15 bus fleet. It was originally reported the district has a 16 bus fleet.
By Echo Menges
The Knox County R-1 School District has been awarded $1.5 million in Environmental Protection Agency grant funding for four new electric school buses. The district was notified Tuesday, October 25, with instructions not to release the information until today.
“We weren’t allowed to release it until this morning,” KCR-1 Superintendent Andy Turgeon told The Edina Sentinel. “It was difficult (to not be able to say anything).”
In February of 2021, the rural KCR-1 district was the first in Missouri to obtain an electric school bus, adding two more to the 15* bus fleet since then. This funding will bring the total up to seven.
“We’ve been awarded $1,580,000. That’s $80K for the charging stations and $1.5 million for the buses. That’s going to make it to where it’s not going to cost us a thing for the charging stations or the buses. Our electric buses have traditionally cost $338K. This grant covers $375K per bus – and we’re slated for four. It cost us roughly $10K per charging station, and we have $20K available per charging station for four stations,” said Turgeon.
Earlier this year, the EPA opened the first funding opportunity for school districts nationwide to apply to be included in the first round of a $5 billion package.
The funds are attached to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will be spent over the next five years through the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, according to information released by the EPA.
The goal of the program is to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission buses.
According to Turgeon, the schools were chosen by lottery.
According to information released by the EPA, the KCR-1 district is among nearly 2,000 school districts that applied for the funding requesting nearly $4 billion for more than 12,000 buses. The applicant pool included submissions from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and federally recognized Tribes. The 2022 rebate program will fund approximately 2,500 school bus replacements.
The EPA’s list of school districts receiving funding during this first round was posted today.