More Volkswagen Funds Sent to 22 Arizona School Districts

Arizona Gov. Ducey (far left) recently spoke at Sunset Elementary School.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has announced that $8.4 million is available to 22 school districts to purchase dozens of new school buses that are tied to the Volkswagen settlement.

In this second of two rounds of awarding Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund money, low-income schools will receive 76 new diesel and alternative fuel school buses. The second round of funding was awarded as part of a $38 million plan to provide low-income schools with new school buses. The third round of awards is expected to be announced shortly.



“Investing in K-12 education remains a top priority,” said Gov. Ducey on Jan. 4. “These new dollars will benefit low-income school districts across Arizona, including many in rural areas. And by funding the purchase of new buses, these funds will free up additional resources schools can put toward other important needs.”

The Governor’s office reported that in June 2018, Ducey unveiled a $38 million plan to buy approximately 280 school buses with the Volkswagen money. The plan provides funding to 60 percent free and reduced lunch school districts, charter schools, and the Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind, to replace buses that have more than 100,000 miles and are older than 15 years.

Last year, in the first round of funding, 142 diesel and alternative fuel school buses were awarded to 55 school districts and charter schools, at a cost of $15.9 million. To date, Arizona has approved 77 applications from school districts and charter schools, resulting in $24.4 million awarded for 218 buses.

Volkswagen Debacle Especially Benefited School Districts

In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act by modifying its vehicles to cheat emissions tests. The suit resulted in a settlement agreement that requires Volkswagen to spend $10 billion to buy back vehicles or compensate vehicle owners and $4.7 billion to offset pollution from the modified cars. Arizona will receive $57 million over the next two years. The plan also includes funding other mission-critical projects, such as supporting wildland fire crews and equipment for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Restrictions on Funds

However, “There is a catch—the districts cannot continue to use the buses being replaced. They must be destroyed because they don’t meet current emissions standards, according to Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Ducey,” noted Tucson.com.

The post explained that, “Before the recession, school districts relied on capital funding from the state to purchase tangible items like school buses, books and buildings. But Arizona started slashing capital funding, year after year, as the recession strained the state budget. Ducey continued the pattern. When he took office in 2015, he cut capital funding—known as District and Charter Additional Assistance—by $116 million. The state still hasn’t fully restored recession-era capital cuts.”

According to the report, those cuts mean the public school districts are continuing to have difficulties in replacing “broken, old buses, textbooks, leaky roofs, fire alarm systems and more. Due to a lack of support from the state, districts have had to ask homeowners to fund capital projects with increased property taxes in bond elections.”

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Arizona’s Lower-Emission School Bus Program: Wave 1 Awards

School System Name                                 Funding Awarded         Buses Awarded


Aguila Elementary                                              $110,000                          1
Alhambra Elementary District                              $660,000                          6
American Basic School dba Burke Basic Schl Dist  $110,000                          1
Beaver Creek Elementary District                        $110,000                          1
Bowie Unified District                                         $110,000                          1
Buckeye Elementary School District                     $330,000                          3
Cartwright Elementary District                            $550,000                          5
Casa Grande Elementary District                         $660,000                          6
Concho Elementary District                                 $110,000                          1
Congress Elementary District                              $110,000                          1
Cottonwood – Oak Creek School                          $330,000                          3
Crane Elementary District                                   $330,000                          3
Douglas Unified School District                            $220,000                          2
Eloy Elementary School District                           $110,000                          1
Flowing Wells Unified District                               $220,000                          2
Gadsden Elementary School District                     $440,000                          4
Holbrook Unified School District                           $440,000                          4
Isaac Elementary District                                    $220,000                          2
Kingman Unified School District                        $1,100,000                         10
Littleton Elementary District                                $220,000                          2
Maine Consol Schl Dist Mammoth-San Manuel UD $110,000                          1
Mary C O’Brien Accommodation District                $110,000                          1
Mayer Unified School District                               $110,000                          1
McNary Elementary District                                 $110,000                          1
Miami Unified District                                          $110,000                          1
Mingus Union High School District                        $110,000                          1
Mobile Elementary School District                        $110,000                          1
Mohawk Valley Elementary District                       $110,000                          1
Nadaburg School District                                     $220,000                          2
Nogales Unified District                                       $110,000                          1
Page Unified School District                                 $330,000                          3
Palo Verde Elementary District                             $110,000                          1
Parker Unified School District                               $220,000                          2
Patagonia Union High School District                    $110,000                          1
Pearce Elementary District                                  $110,000                           1
Riverside Elementary District                               $110,000                          1
San Simon Unified District                                   $110,000                          1
Sanders Unified District                                       $220,000                          2
Santa Cruz Valley Unified District                         $440,000                           4
Seligman Unified District                                     $110,000                           1
Solomon Elementary District                               $110,000                           1
Somerton Elementary District                              $220,000                          2
Tempe School District                                          $880,000                          8
Tolleson Elementary District                                 $110,000                          1
Washington Elementary School District              $1,210,000                         11
Wenden Elementary District                                 $110,000                          1
Whiteriver Unified District                                    $330,000                          3
Willcox Unified District                                         $220,000                          2
Window Rock Unified School District                      $330,000                         3
Winslow Unified District                                        $440,000                         4
Young Elementary District                                    $110,000                          1
Yuma Elementary District                                     $895,000                          7*
Yuma Union High School District                        $1,165,000                          9*

Total:                                                           $15,920,000                       142

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Arizona’s Lower-Emission School Bus Program: Wave 2 Awards

School System Name                                 Funding Awarded         Buses Awarded


Antelope Union High School District                    $110,000                            1
Apache Junction Unified District                          $550,000                            5
Balsz School District                                          $110,000                            1
Bell Canyon Charter School                                $110,000                            1
Bicentennial Union High School District               $110,000                            1
Canon Elementary School District                       $110,000                            1
Fowler Elementary School District                       $330,000                            3
Fredonia-Moccasin Unified School District            $110,000                            1
Glendale Elementary*                                        $600,000                           5
Naco Elementary District                                   $110,000                            1
Phoenix Union High School District                     $110,000                            1
Picacho Elementary                                           $110,000                            1
Pinon Unified School District                               $220,000                            2
Quartzsite School District                                   $110,000                            1
Roosevelt Elementary School District                   $550,000                            5
Salome Consolidated School District                    $110,000                            1
San Carlos Unified District                                  $110,000                            1
Santa Cruz Valley Union High School District        $110,000                            1
Sunnyside Unified District                                   $990,000                            9
Toltec District                                                     $110,000                           1
Tucson Unified School District                           $3,520,000                         32
Vernon District*                                                 $135,000                           1

Total:                                                             $8,435,000                        76

*Indicates a school system decision to select alternative fuel vehicles, resulting in a higher award.

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