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Local school districts on EPA's priority list for Clean School Bus funding

Chesapeake Electric School Bus.jpg
Posted at 7:31 AM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 12:18:17-04

More than a dozen local school districts are in line to receive federal help in replacing aging school buses with environmentally-friendly models. They just have to apply for it first.

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently accepting applications for its Clean Bus Program, which offers rebates to qualifying districts that purchase clean and zero-emission buses.

The rebates are worth up to $375,000 per bus, according to the EPA website, with around $500 million available to give out.

A list released by the agency also shows which districts would be considered higher priority to receive the funding. Among the criteria to be given priority are districts in low-income areas or rural locations considered "remote" or "distant."

Dominion Energy says it's helping school divisions that want to apply.

"We haven't seen funding like this in the past, which is exciting and really promising for school districts and school children," said Kate Staples, the utility's Director of Electrification. "Not only do we try to help with funding, but we also try to help these school districts with the complexities of getting that infrastructure installed. So, we will install it and maintain it for them."

Some local districts, like Chesapeake Public Schools, have already started adding electric buses to their fleets.

Portsmouth Public Schools and Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools both tell News 3 they are looking into the application process, but haven't made a decision on whether to apply yet.

The EPA says school districts have through August 19 to apply, with selections scheduled for October.

The local school districts considered "priority" by the EPA are, in Virginia:
Accomack County Public Schools
Franklin Public Schools
Mathews County Public Schools
Norfolk Public Schools
Northampton County Public Schools
Portsmouth Public Schools
Southampton County Public Schools
Surry County Public Schools

In North Carolina:
Bertie County Schools
Currituck County Schools
Edenton-Chowan Schools
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools
Gates County Schools
Hertford County Schools
Perquimans County Schools