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A driving force in DeKalb County Public Schools: the district receives $20 million in Federal Grants for electric and lower emissions buses via the Investing in America Agenda

January 8, 2024 is more than the first day of the week for students, faculty, staff, and the DeKalb County Public School community. Today's event at Stone Mountain Middle School is a celebration of the launch of a drive grounded in emerging practices and focused on the environment, economy, along with being aligned to the wave of the present and future regarding transportation.

Through the Investing in America Agenda and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 67 applicants nationwide are awarded nearly $1 billion through the EPA's first Clean School Bus Program Grants Competition. Through this program, nearly 2700 clean school buses in 280 school districts across 37 states are serving nearly 7 million students. Focusing on improved air quality for children (not only on their ride to school, but in the immediate neighborhoods where they reside) and their families, it's a step in reaching goals regarding environmental enhancements.

Since the launch of the program, nearly $2 billion in funding is provided, leading to the production of nearly 5,000 electric and low-emissions buses. As for this year, Georgia receives nearly $57 million for funding of 180 buses (only exceeded in funding and production allocations by the states of California and New York), with DeKalb County Public Schools receiving $20 million.

Combined with the potential jobs created in an array of related fields (i.e. manufacturing and clean technology), there are potential boosts to the economy and beyond.

Today's program includes Michael Regan (Administrator of the US EPA), Senator Raphael Warnock, Congressman Hank Johnson, DeKalb County School District Superintendent Dr. Devon Q. Horton, Phil Horlock (CEO of Blue Bird Corporation), and other dignitaries (including, but not limited to, Kristen Jones [DeKalb County School District Teacher of the Year for 2023-24], and Greg Coleman [among the union workers and leadership]). During the program (which includes the presence of the middle school's ensembles and cheering squads, as well as the Stevenson High School band), all speakers note the importance of the award.

In articulating the prospective positive impacts on the environment, economy, along with health/teaching and learning possibilities, the program can not only be a model for school transportation, but larger transportation and infrastructure areas of concern. Combined with bipartisanship in getting things done along with growing public-private collaborations, it can be the template for addressing larger and related areas within the aforementioned realms.

Today's program and award is a progressive step in identifying needs of the community (via transportation) along with setting a tone that can be a positive game-changer on multiple levels.

Clearly, it's a positive drive not only for DeKalb County, but the state and country in addressing today's challenges to lead to tomorrow's successes.

Notes: All video and photography is recorded by Andrew Snorton via CCSLLC (click HERE to visit their Instagram). You may watch the full playlist which includes the full remarks from all speakers by visiting our playlist (click HERE).


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