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Fleming County Schools Receives Bus Grant

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Fleming County School District is one of two in the state approved to receive a bus purchase rebate to replace old or worn out school buses.

Fleming County Schools Finance Director Greg Conway said the rebate comes from the United States Environmental Protection Agency National Clean Diesel rebate program.

The program allows for a school to be reimbursed for the costs of buses that met a certain age and motor criteria, according to Conway. The buses have to be currently used by the school district and the new buses purchased have to be of equal size.

"We couldn't replace old buses that are sitting out back," Conway said. "It had to be buses that were currently on the road and the new buses we purchase have to be the same size, they can't be bigger."

"Replacement vehicles must be powered by a certified 2014 or newer model year engine or operate solely on electricity. They must be the same size or smaller than the original buses and may be operated on conventional diesel, battery or hybrid drivetrains, or alternative fuels," US EPA Representative Connie Ruth said in an email to Conway.

According to Fleming County Schools Transportation Director Willy Campbell, the school district replaces buses each year through a rotation. Three buses are replaced one year and two buses the next year.

"We try to keep it on a rotation so the oldest buses are replaced. It just so happened that the three buses we needed to replace fell into the category for the grant. It was like a lottery. One of our bus suppliers told us about the program and we applied. Everything else just worked out."

According to Conway, the district applied for the grant in November 2014 and was notified in December of the award.

Conway said the program will reimburse the district $60,000, which will give them $20,000 per bus.

The old buses will have to have a hole drilled through the motor and have the rail removed.

"They have to be removed from the road," Campbell said.

Conway said the district is considering donating the old buses to the local fire department or police to be used for drill practice.

"Transportation is one of the most expensive aspects of a school district," Conway said. "We're trying to do what we can to maintain our transportation while also using our limited funds appropriately. Our number one priority is our children's safety and getting to and from school in a safe and timely manner. This award will help us to continue to keep our children safe in their travels."

According to Conway, the rebate will be given to the district once the paperwork has been completed and the new buses have been purchased and delivered.

The Ledger Independent is online at: http://www.maysville-online.com