Bell County Schools receive $4.85 million grant to purchase electric buses

Published 4:36 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

The Bell County School District has been awarded a $4.85 million grant through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program. The funds will be used to purchase 13 electric buses and seven charging stations.

Steve Silcox, the district’s finance director, said Bell County was one of six school districts in Kentucky to receive a grant and theirs was by far the largest.

“Previously we’ve been awarded ten buses in a year so this is the largest award we’ve ever had,” he said. “The Bell County Board of Education and our superintendent (Tom Gambrel) have made a commitment to provide safe transportation for our students. That’s why we’ve applied for these grants over the years.”

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Silcox said the district will purchase the school buses from Central State Bus Sales in Lexington, and students could be riding in them next year.

“I think they’ll be excited. We’ve gotten quite a few new buses over the past few years, and they’re always excited to get a new bus,” he said.

He added that using the grant funds to purchase buses frees up money in the general fund to be used more directly for education.

Bell County’s fleet of buses is one of the newest in the state with the entire fleet eligible for depreciation reimbursement. All of the county’s buses are equipped with air conditioning.

The new Blue Bird Vision EVs all have 72 seats and a range of 130 miles each time they are charged up.