Isaac School District Celebrates Federal Funding for Safer, Clean-Energy School Buses

Buses line up outside Tempe High School in this 2021 file photo. Bus driver is just one of the positions that school administrators around the state say they have trouble filling, along with teachers, nurses, custodians, secretaries and more, as school salaries often can't compete with the private sector. (File photo by Kelly Richmond/Cronkite News)

By Isabel Soisson

May 10, 2023

Children in the Isaac School District in Phoenix will soon be able to get to school and back on safer, clean-energy buses thanks to $2.4 million in funding from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law.

The district highlighted the importance of replacing polluting diesel-powered school buses with low- and no-emission buses during an event on Tuesday, alongside a coalition of environmental and local advocacy groups, including Chispa Arizona, EDF Action, Moms Clean Air Force, Sierra Club, and Defend Our Future.

“Every single student in our school district and across our state has the right to clean air,” Isaac School District Superintendent Dr. Mario Ventura said in a statement. “This is the best investment we as a school district could make for our students to keep them healthy and able to focus on learning. And it’s because of the federal administration’s investments in clean school buses that we’re able to make this a reality.”

Clean-energy buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and will also reduce health risks among children and the surrounding communities, according to the World Resources Institute, a global research nonprofit organization.

“The dangers of dirty diesel vehicles are well known. Diesel pollution causes cancer. It triggers asthma attacks. It damages the lungs and the heart. It cuts lives short. It can seep inside the bus cabin from the tailpipe and get trapped inside the bus,” Moms Clean Air Force Arizona Organizer Hazel Chandler said in a statement.

The funding, which was announced last year, is the result of the 2021 federal infrastructure law, which passed with bipartisan support.

Specifically, the district is getting funds from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program, which provides school districts with rebates to replace existing school buses with clean models to reduce harmful emissions from older buses.

The funding will help the district replace six school buses. Several other communities in Arizona have received grants thanks to the program, as well.

As of March, Arizona has been awarded $11.4 million through the program in total.

According to the Environmental Defense Action Fund, over 90% of school districts nationwide have already requested clean electric buses.

Author

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

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