Seven school districts are splitting a grant of nearly $275,500 from the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED) that will go toward purchasing propane school buses.
The OED said the dedicated 2015 Indiana School Bus grant program is the first of its kind in the state. The grant submission period closed on Oct. 16, and the seven winning districts were announced on Thursday.
The winners are: Avon Community School Corporation; DeKalb County Central School District; Metropolitan School District of Warren Township; Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township; North Spencer County School Corporation; Tippecanoe School Corporation; and Warrick County School Corporation.
OED said the funds will cover the incremental costs of buying new propane school buses when compared with a diesel or gasoline bus. The districts applied for 50 to 100 percent of the incremental costs, up to $10,000, and had to apply for a minimum of two new propane buses purchased this month or later.
The maximum grant is $50,000 per award, but applicants could apply for a lower amount.
“Improved engine technologies have made propane a low-cost option for Indiana’s school bus fleet,” said OED Director Tristan Vance. “At OED, we believe that propane is a promising alternative fuel for school buses because it is widely available, even in rural areas, and traditionally costs less than diesel or gasoline.”
OED added that the seven districts will submit quarterly reports for one year starting in January that include expenditures and fuel savings.
Objectives of the grant are to not only decreases school children’s exposure to harmful emissions, but also lower maintenance costs and increasing fuel diversity.
“By diversifying fueling sources, schools are able to reduce their exposure to fueling price shocks and improve their access to affordable, reliable energy,” reads a statement on the program website.