St. Andrew’s receives bus grant
St. Andrews Episcopal School, one of 22 recipients of a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality grant, will put the funds towards new buses, school officials say.
St. Andrews will receive $53,645 for the replacement of two diesel school buses with new diesel school buses. Head of School Kevin Lewis said the school looks forward to putting the vehicles in use.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to couple these grant funds with funds that we have received from our community from our annual fund,” Lewis said. “We are purchasing two buses which will be used by the school for field trips, athletic travel, travel between our campuses, and other student transportation needs.”
He said the school is replacing two older buses. One is a 2007 Bluebird and the other a 2002 Thomas.
He said they hoped to have both buses in place as soon as next summer.
“We hope to receive one bus in early winter and a second bus in the summer,” Lewis said.
MDEQ announced St. Andrews as one of the recipients on Nov. 2, as one the recipients of the first round of funding provided through the State of Mississippi’s Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program.
MDEQ is awarding $7,331,408 to 22 government and non-government entities, including at least 10 school districts, for eligible projects using funds allocated to Mississippi from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director said. The Trust was established as a result of a settlement agreement between Volkswagen and the U.S. Government regarding excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel vehicles equipped with “defeat devices.”
“The goal of the mitigation projects is the reduction of diesel emissions, specifically nitrogen oxide pollutants, which have been linked to increased ozone levels and air contaminants,” Wells said. “This money was intended to have local impact, and we are glad to have a part in getting these funds into our communities in hopes of creating a healthier Mississippi.”
Selected recipients will receive awards in the form of a rebate that may cover up to 70% of project costs. Most of the project funding will support the replacement of older, diesel-powered vehicles and equipment with new, lower-emitting diesel, clean fuels, or electric vehicles and equipment. The remainder of the funding will support the installation of publicly accessible electric charging stations for light-duty electric vehicles.
Other non-government recipients include Waste Management, who received $570,000 to replace 13 vehicles, and Sysco Jackson who will receive $310,170 for the replacement of 14 heavy-duty short-haul diesel combination tractors with 14 new diesel tractors.
Recipients have until September 30, 2025, to complete projects and request reimbursement up to the amount awarded.