Enthusiasm on the part of a Champlain Valley Union High School environmental organization has led to the school district winning two electric school buses.
Champlain Valley School District was one of three school districts, along with Barre Unified School District and Franklin West Supervisory District, chosen for the program.
Emily Boedecker, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, said the money for the buses comes from Vermont’s legal settlement with Volkswagen over violations of the Clean Air Act, according to news reports.
CVSD will pay the same cost as regular buses, about $100,000. The grant covers the rest of the cost; each electric bus goes for about $300,000, CVSD Chief Operations Officer Jeanne Jensen said.
The awards were announced at a Dec. 19 event, where Ethan Lisle, CVU student and member of the school’s Environmental Action Club, EnAct, spoke and received the grant award from Boedecker.
A release from the Department of Environmental Conservation said, “Champlain Valley stood out in both your level of support for and engagement around this pilot and our confidence in your capacity to be a great Project Partner in deploying electric buses.”
Voters in the CVSD towns will have a ballot article to approve the school district’s share of the cost of the buses, which, if approved, will be based at Allen Brook School in Williston. The infrastructure at Allen Brook can allow for setting up charging stations and Williston has a wide variety of bus routes from busy urban streets to rough rural roads that are good for testing the viability of the buses, Jensen said.