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During Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting Tuesday, an announcement was made that Upshur County Schools received its third-in-a-row DERA grant, this year for $100,000, enabling Upshur County Schools to replace five buses. Making the presentation was Frank Jezioro, representative of Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV. Accepting the grant are Upshur County BOE member Kristi Wilkerson, Upshur County BOE Vice President Katie Loudin, Upshur County BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples, Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus, Upshur County Schools Director of Transportation Jodie Akers, Upshur County Schools Transportation Supervisor Stephanie Bennett and Upshur County Chief Mechanic Rick Wentz.
During Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting Tuesday, an announcement was made that Upshur County Schools received its third-in-a-row DERA grant, this year for $100,000, enabling Upshur County Schools to replace five buses. Making the presentation was Frank Jezioro, representative of Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV. Accepting the grant are Upshur County BOE member Kristi Wilkerson, Upshur County BOE Vice President Katie Loudin, Upshur County BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples, Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus, Upshur County Schools Director of Transportation Jodie Akers, Upshur County Schools Transportation Supervisor Stephanie Bennett and Upshur County Chief Mechanic Rick Wentz.

Upshur County Schools will replace five buses to reduce diesel emissions

TENNERTON – Upshur County Schools will receive an Environmental Protection Agency grant for $100,000 which will support the replacement of five school buses.

The announcement was made Tuesday during the Upshur County Board of Education meeting. The DERA grant, which supports projects that reduce diesel emissions from existing engines, will allow for the replacement of one transit bus, one special needs bus and three conventional buses that have fulfilled their life span based on the West Virginia Department of Education transportation guidelines.

In a press release issued by Upshur County Schools, Transportation Director Jodie Akers said they are very excited to be the recipient of the DERA grant for the third consecutive year.

“This funding will allow us to replace buses to further ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and the community,” Akers said.

Upshur County School Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said the program allows the school system to replace old diesel school buses with new ones that are certified to the EPA’s cleanest emissions standards.

“This is great for the environment, for our drivers, but most importantly, for our students,” Stankus said.

During the BOE meeting, Akers said they used their first DERA grant, received in 2019, to replace three buses for Upshur County Schools. In 2020 they received a grant to replace four Upshur County School buses, and this year, they will be replacing five school buses with the grant funds.

“This has been very instrumental in getting our fleet up-to-date,” Akers said. “We are very grateful and appreciative of this opportunity.”

Frank Jezioro, a representative from the office of Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, presented a check for the DERA grant during Tuesday’s BOE meeting. Jezioro read a letter from Manchin which offered congratulations to the Upshur County school system for obtaining the DERA grant three years in a row. Manchin said it was a great accomplishment for not only Upshur County, but the entire state of West Virginia.

“When it comes to school buses and transporting our students, safety is of the highest priority,” Manchin wrote. “The continued implementation of new reduced emissions buses will significantly benefit the health and safety of our students, faculty and residents of this region for years to come. I truly appreciate the Upshur County Board of Education, the EPA and everyone else responsible for making this grant announcement a reality.”

The next Upshur County BOE meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. The next regular meeting of the BOE is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, 2022, at 7:05 p.m. at Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium.

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