By DEUCE NIVEN
Electric school buses are apparently on their way to the Columbus County Schools, as many as 10 and as early as the 2023-2024 school year, Associate Supt. Dr. Jonathan Williams said Tuesday.
That includes nine funded in a $3.555 million grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, and a tenth separately acquired through an effort with Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC), Williams said.
Fiscal 2022 recipients of the EPA program, announced recently by the Biden-Harris Administration, include five school districts in North Carolina. Columbus County Schools received the largest amount, enough for nine busses, charging infrastructure and related equipment, Williams said.
“The grants will help school districts purchase over 31 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities,” an EPA news release said.
“We have a lot of questions,” Williams said of the program, noting that the roll-out likely won’t happen during the current school year. “We’re kind of excited, but there are questions about charging infrastructure, repairs. We will have to work with the state agency, which owns the school buses.”
A charging station for one bus, Williams said, costs about $80,000.
In addition to the $3,555,000 award for the Columbus County Schools, these awards totaling $12 million were announced by the EPA.
- Bladen County Schools, $1,975,000
- Halifax County Schools, $1,580,000
- Discovery Charter School, Durham, $2,370,000
- Mina Charter School of Lee County, Sanford, $2,765,000
For more on this story, and for the rest of the week’s news, see today’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.