Wednesday, Jun 19th

Should Scarsdale Receive EPA Funding for EV School Buses?

electricschoolbusShould wealthier school districts receive federal subsidies? That was the question raise by a 1961 graduate of Scarsdale High School in a letter to Scarsdale10583. In his letter below, Frank Wilner of Fredericksburg VA question whether or not Scarsdale should receive an $800,000 subsidy from the EPA for new electric powered school buses.

Wilner writes,

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has earmarked $111 million to communities in New York State to provide, among other objectives, "clean, low- and zero-emission school buses." Earmarked for Scarsdale is $800,000. As EPA's sole funding source is the U.S. general treasury, the earmarks are taxpayer subsidies. As Scarsdale is among the wealthiest communities in America, the inequity is obvious -- the Village is "enjoying" a subsidy paid, in part, by federal income taxes of the working poor from communities struggling even to put conventional school buses on the road.

Fredericksburg, VA
Scarsdale High School, 1961

We reached out to Scarsdale’s School Board President Ron Schulhof for a response and here is what he said:

“Our district has a strong commitment to the health of our students as well as sustainability initiatives and EV buses will make huge impacts in both of these areas. Like other school districts, we apply for available grants when they make sense for our community. While we receive significantly less state and federal aid than other school districts, certain grants are important to support initiatives that would otherwise be challenging to fund. Upgrading to electric buses is required by recent NYS legislation and it is fiscally prudent for our District to seek grant funding when available. I am looking forward to watching our students get aboard an electric bus in the near future!”

Michelle Sterling, who heads Scarsdale’s Conservation Advisory Council agrees with Schulhof. She wrote, “I think that it’s fantastic that Scarsdale schools are going to be getting electric school buses! It’s better for our environment, better for our children’s health (better for everyone’s health), and represents positive modelling as the transportation sector represents one of the largest sources of pollution and going EV is a great way to address this.

Over the last several years we have seen NYC schools and other schools in Westchester getting EV buses as the public funding that has been released so far has only been for schools in economically disadvantaged areas. We have seen schools taking advantage of the funding and getting EV buses - and it is terrific.

Now that the funding has been released for all schools, our school district applied and is receiving funding. This funding is what is going to allow us to have EV buses. Without the funding, even in a wealthy area like ours, it would be nearly impossible to replace our fleet of buses - and definitely not in time to comply with the NYS EV bus mandate.

So in short, Im happy that for several years underserved communities have been able to apply and receive funding for EV buses, and even though I am a taxpayer and for many years was funding a program that my own children and my community did not benefit from, I was happy to do it. I’m also pleased that the funding has now been opened up to everyone as it will allow many other communities to upgrade their school bus fleet to EVs.”

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