I’m Voting No to Proposition 1 and Yes to Propositions 2, 3 and 4 on the Croton School Ballot; Here’s Why
I am voting NO to Transportation Proposition 1 and YES to Propositions 2, 3 and 4 on the Croton School May 18 ballot. I encourage you to do the same. Here’s why.
As a resident of this School District, I, along with others in the community, have spent the past year working with the School on positioning our District to purchase electric vehicles in this budget cycle. I served on the School’s Bus Electrification Task Force, engaged in extensive communications with the Administration, School Board Members and the community, attended all public meetings on this topic, and I have worked with others to develop extensive voter education materials that are available at Croton100.org. I have also successfully transitioned to using only electric vehicles in my own life as have others in the community; electric vehicles can beneficially meet our School’s transportation needs.
The time has come to stop using taxpayer funds to purchase fossil fuel vehicles that cost more to operate and maintain than electric buses, and that emit harmful particulate pollution and perilous global warming greenhouse gases.
Do not be deterred from voting No on Proposition 1 because of statements by the School and others, suggesting that if Proposition 1 is defeated, the School may buy fossil fuel vehicles by drawing on funds from educational programs and initiatives. The current Transportation Department budget (not including the proposed bus purchases on the ballot) is $2.6 million, and it includes 4 mechanics who service about 45 student transportation vehicles and about 12 general district vehicles (about one mechanic for every 15 vehicles). Surely, the School can find a way to make do with the existing vehicles or cover the costs of a short-term lease for our transportation needs with funds in its existing Transportation, Facilities and other non-educational programs in its $50 million budget. If the voters reject Proposition 1, the School should not defy the will of the voters by purchasing fossil fuel buses, much less from program funds.
School Board Members have been asking the public to vote yes to Proposition 1 to give the School maximum flexibility. How this flexibility will be exercised is described on the School’s website by a vote outcome bus purchase plan. If Proposition 1 passes, the School says it “will purchase” at least one fossil fuel bus in 80% of the vote outcome scenarios. The School has not diligently pursued funding opportunities for this budget cycle, leaving this ballot with uncertainties and contingencies that are confusing and unfair to voters. Keep in mind, last year the School walked away from a $200,000 electric bus funding opportunity and did not use any of the $78,750 in State Transportation aid that flowed with last year’s voter approved transportation bond funds for an available electric bus. Instead, it used its flexibility to buy a gas bus and other fossil fuel vehicles. The “No” option on this year’s ballot is there for you to exercise your right to say “No” to buying fossil fuel buses. It does not help the School’s case that Proposition 1 includes an expensive and unnecessary charger.
This ballot is convoluted. Please note that Proposition 2 provides for one additional large bus that is not covered by Proposition 1, while Propositions 3 and 4 are for electric mini-buses rather than the fossil fuel mini-buses in Proposition 1.
Voting YES for Propositions 2, 3, and 4 for electric vehicles supports good financial stewardship because electric buses save money on operations and maintenance. Electric motors are three times more efficient than internal combustion engines and do not need all the repairs, replacement parts and general servicing of fossil fuel motors (no mufflers, tailpipes, engine oil, carburetors, spark plugs, catalytic converters, fuel pumps, etc.). The relatively low additional up-front money needed to purchase three electric buses instead of two gas buses (after generous subsidies and State aid), will be recouped by savings over the life of the buses. The funding opportunity for the large electric bus may not be available next year, and the School says it wants to buy a large bus this year, but its delivery time-frame is flexible. Thus, it will be advantageous for taxpayers for the School to purchase electric buses in this budget cycle. If Proposition 1 is rejected by voters, the School can offer voters an off-cycle ballot with only electric buses; voting YES to the electric buses in Propositions 2, 3 and 4 will send a message to the School that voters want the benefits of electric buses.
If you would like to learn more about these issues, Croton100 has extensive voter education materials on our website Croton100.org. Now is the time to use your vote to tell the School not to use taxpayer money to buy more costly and harmful fossil fuel vehicles because there are better solutions to our transportation needs. Vote NO to Proposition 1 (fossil fuel buses) and YES to Propositions 2, 3, and 4 (electric buses) on the Croton School May 18 ballot.