The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 22, 2012

Conneaut schools will seek school bus rebate program

If successful, savings could buy bus security cameras

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — The Conneaut Area City Schools district will be seeking a share of some $2 million the federal government plans to hand out to help clean up old, dirty school buses engines.

If funded, the district would use the savings to purchase and install surveillance cameras in its buses, officials said.

At issue is the new Diesel Emission Reduction Program, operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that will offer rebates to public and private fleets for clean diesel projects, according to the agency’s website. Rebates range from $20,000 to $30,000 per bus, depending on the weight of the vehicle.

Applications are due Dec. 14.

Participation in the program is purely by chance, according to the agency. All applications deemed eligible will be assigned a number, included in a random selection process and picked using a number generator. Numbers will be pulled until the money runs out.

Conneaut’s Board of Education recently authorized Superintendent Kent Houston to apply for the rebate program. “It’s an opportunity to get a clean diesel model,” said Superintendent Kent Houston.

The EPA is expected to be swamped with applications, meaning Conneaut’s chances of receiving money are pretty slim. “But it’s worth a shot,” board president Michael Kennedy said recently.

The district routinely replaces older school buses one or two at a time. The rebates would generate enough money to allow the district to put security cameras on all its buses as a “preventive method,” Houston said recently.

“We’re looking at the rebate program to outfit all the buses,” he said. “Administrators would like to have some video of what is actually going on (the buses).”