The Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) has started a campaign to bring awareness to the benefits of propane transportation. PERC is partnering with former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager and the organization Adopt a Classroom to donate more than $30,000 to teachers at schools that adopt propane-powered school buses.
PERC said in a statement that over half a million students across the country.
“Diesel has long been the standard in school transportation, but for districts that want to reduce harmful emissions, save money and create a safer, healthier ride, propane is an excellent alternative,” said Roy Willis, Propane Education and Research Council president and CEO.
Donations kicked off today with an event at Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Boston, where Hager and Mayor Martin J. Walsh surprised teachers and announced that PERC will give them a total of $10,000 towards classroom supplies.
“As a former teacher and parent, I know that the school day begins and ends on the bus,” said Hager who is also a correspondent for NBC News. “When we give our kids a safer, healthier start to the day, it can improve their entire experience in the classroom and at home, too.”
With its 86 propane buses, Boston Public Schools is the first district in the city to transition from diesel to propane school buses. The fleet travels over nine million miles each year and makes approximately 16,000 stops per day, with over half of these being door-to-door pickups. It is expected that the district will save between $600 and $1,000 each day with the propane buses.
“We’ve replaced nearly all of our wheelchair buses with propane because with the existing (diesel) fleet, the engine has to be on in high idle and we’ve got students in chairs lined up near the back of the bus to get lifted into the bus,” said Peter Crossan, BPS fleet students kids.”
The World Health Organization classifies diesel exhaust as a carcinogen.
According to PERC, schools across 45 states have collectively transitioned over 7,000 school buses to propane, and four of the largest school districts in the country are also using propane buses.
Other schools that will receive donations include Kyrene Monte Vista in Arizona; Broward Education Foundation in Florida; Wilkes Elementary in Oregon; Five Star Education Foundation in Colorado; St. Francis Elementary in Minnesota; and Friendswood Jr. High in Texas.
“It’s clear when you talk to school administrators and transportation departments that they are saving more than just dollars and cents by going with propane buses,” said Hager. “The switch is improving their school as a whole and giving them the opportunity to invest in more teachers or school programs.”
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