BOE using Diesel Emission Reduction grant to purchase four new buses

BUCKHANNON – During Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting, board members voted to approve the purchase of four new additional buses to add to the fleet.

Upshur County Schools Finance Director George Carver said Upshur County BOE applied for an EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Act Grant to help pay for the purchase of four new buses, and the board recently learned their application was approved.

“If we buy four new buses, they will give us a rebate of $20,000 per bus,” Carver explained. “To get that grant, we have to purchase the buses and then show that we retired four buses by selling them for scrap and disabling the engines so they cannot be used again as any kind of on-road vehicle.”

He said they will spend $100,000 per bus and get $80,000 back so it is almost like getting almost one for free.

“We had applied for this grant, and I am amazed we got this grant,” Carver said. “No one, to my knowledge, has ever received one of these grants in the state of West Virginia.”

Carver reminded those at the BOE meeting that they had entered into a lease agreement in the fall to purchase six buses.

“We did that through a lease purchase,” Carver said. “My thinking was to take our bus funds from this year and pay that ahead in order to pay that off early. I put that on hold and think we should divert some of those funds to purchase these buses. Even if we order these four buses today, they will not come until after July 1.”

He said those buses will be paid for with the rebate from the EPA Diesel Emission Reduction Act Grant, and they’ll be a little bit short of being able to pay for those with the allotment from the state for buying new buses for that year.

“Going to 2021 to 2022, I recommend we take most of the state allotment to pay off the lease purchases and buy a bus or two with whatever money is left over,” Carver said. “That would mean we have purchased 10 or 11 buses in a three-year-period, which helps to increase our money we get from the state to buy buses because they are in better condition and newer.”

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, BOE members voted:

  • To approve a lease purchase agreement for a wastewater treatment plant for Washington District Elementary School. Carver said the wastewater treatment plant will be paid for over the next three fiscal years in semiannual installments.
  • To approve the lease purchase agreement for one-to-one technology.
  • To approve all the personnel recommendations presented.

Due to social distancing requirements, the next two BOE meetings will take place via teleconferencing and the first is a special meeting scheduled for 7:30 a.m. at the BOE Office for a budget workshop on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. A reconvened meeting from March 10, 2020 is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 21, 2020 at the Upshur County BOE followed by a regular BOE meeting scheduled for 7:05 p.m. April 21, 2020.

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