Onwards: The Path Forward for an Electric School Bus

By:  Patty L. Buchanan

How can we be working so hard to educate the upcoming generation to take their place in a world that they may not be able to thrive in?  More precisely how can we, in a School District of 1,625 students with a nearly $50M voter-approved budget, opt to continue to add perilous emissions to our atmosphere that disproportionately harm the most vulnerable, when we have a way to transport students by vehicles that have near zero carbon emissions, save money, and improve health?

Croton100 led a campaign to oppose Proposition 3 (a $225,000 transportation bond request) on the School District’s June 9 ballot; it passed by a relatively small margin compared to the other budget items on the ballot.  Croton100 had asked residents to use their vote to tell the Croton School District not to borrow money to buy any more fossil fuel buses.  The ballot results were as follows:  1,687 Yes votes for the overall budget and 487 No votes; 1,252 people voted Yes for Proposition 3, while 885 voted No.  The Library budget that was also on the ballot passed by a vote of 1,712 Yes votes over 419 No votes.

Accordingly, the Transportation Proposition passed by only 59% of the votes.  This is a remarkable outcome.  Prior transportation bonds passed by about 80% voter approval.  Another stand-out of the ballot results is the No votes on the Transportation Proposition (41%) were significantly more than the No votes for the overall budget (22%) and the No votes on the Library budget (20%).

This means some people had stronger negative views of the Transportation Bond Proposition rather than simply being opposed to spending money.  Put another way, 1,687 people voted in favor of the overall school budget, but only 1,252 voted in favor of Proposition 3, which is a difference of 435 votes.  One would reasonably expect that voters in favor of education expenditures and school bus expenditures would closely align.  But, because 435 people favored the overall budget, but not the Transportation bond, it is reasonable to interpret these results to mean that there is a significant portion of voters who do not want the School to buy another gas bus.

Our campaign had even wider impact.  Through our Facebook advertising, we reached over 14,000 people within 15 miles of our 10520 zip code.  People from other School Districts have heard about our campaign and are asking their School Districts to electrify their transportation fleets.  We had six letters to the Editor in our local newspaper in opposition to the School’s plans to purchase a new gas bus, without any counter arguments in favor of the School buying another fossil fuel bus.  

As the Campaign Leader, I have been inspired by the positive support this campaign has been receiving. Croton100 will continue to try to persuade the School that purchasing an electric school bus now is feasible and the right thing to do.  We have been encouraged by the School’s willingness to accept new information that we have developed and shared with them.  Along the way, Croton100 has been updating its Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about electric school buses, and we have added documents about e-school buses in our Resources Tab

Here’s what I ask of you.  Stay with us on this journey, check-in on developments by visiting our website, follow us on social media, bounce back to our Blog space for perspectives on this campaign and our other carbon reduction progress, and of course, join our electric vehicle campaign or other Croton100 campaigns.

And, please consider reaching out to our School Board of Education and Superintendent ([email protected] and [email protected]) to ask them to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an electric school bus and to repudiate new fossil fuel vehicles to transport our youth to school.

Using your voice to protect the atmosphere from accumulating unnecessary green house gases is one step you can take towards being the change you want to see in the world. 

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