The Rapid City Area Schools will get a discount on their purchase of 10 new buses through a federal rebate program.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced recently that the district is among the many nationwide that together will receive $9.3 million in clean school bus funds this year.
“The whole goal of the grant is to get theses buses off the road to improve air quality," School Transportation Manager Dennis Berg said.
The rebate program was established by the Federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. Berg said that it will give $20,000 back to the schools per bus for a total of $200,000.
The new buses, Berg said, will cost approximately $102,600 apiece.
The schools will be able to replace three other buses using a $77,231 State Clean Diesel Grant, Berg said.
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In qualifying for the grants, schools agree to replace buses from model year 2006 and older. Berg said the new buses are 2020s.
The district owns 67 school buses — 42 for general transportation and the others for special education. Berg said that the average age of the buses is about 16 years.
The schools will be required to drill three-inch holes in the engines of buses removed from the fleet and cut their frames in half to prevent future use, Berg said. Although the district is still exploring how the decommissioned buses will be disposed of, Berg mentioned recycling or donating them to the Western Dakota Technical Institute for use in different classes as two options.
He added that the district still has eight buses that would qualify for rebated replacements.
Berg said the buses will likely be delivered in August and expects them to be in service this fall.
Bergman noted that the awarding of the grants was slated for January but was delayed as a result of the federal government shutdown that went into effect toward the end of 2018.