Electric Schoolbus
The Look of Success

The Look of Success

By: Patty L. Buchanan

Do you want to advocate for an electric school bus (ESB) in your local School District?  You may find the story of how tiny Croton on Hudson, NY got its first ESB instructional.

Success is achieved by unflinching advocacy.  Here in Croton, our two-and-a-half-year campaign spanning three school budget cycles, by all-volunteer efforts to electrify the School’s transportation fleet has achieved our first short-term goal.  The School’s first electric school bus wheels are rolling, with the deployment of “EVie,” a 66-passenger bus.  I was delighted to be part of Croton100’s two-person team, along with my husband and E-bus advocacy partner Chandu Visweswariah, that was invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural ride on Croton’s new electric school bus on October 25, 2022.

As I look back on the journey and the robust campaign that Croton100 ran, I am especially proud that we accomplished so much in the span of time that was so difficult because of COVID shutdowns, social distancing, and a general atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, doubt, rancor, and divisiveness.

How did we break through the resistance and what lessons have we learned?

Breaking Through Resistance
There is no shortcut to breaking through layers of resistance to change.  The tried-and-true way is by perseverance, firing on all cylinders, getting the facts right and consistently speaking truth to power.  We did it all and then some.

Below you will find aspects of our campaign on which we toiled, making this final result so sweet!

Our campaign included numerous blogs:

Our blogs have dozens of dedicated readers and are often cross-posted on LinkedIn to maximize visibility and impact.  They serve as an archive of our advocacy on our website.

Our campaign included a drumbeat of letters of the editor:

Letters to the editor help get the message out to a local community, especially leading up to budget votes and referendums.


Our campaign included participating in School Board meetings:
There is nothing like showing your strong presence at School Board meetings and speaking up during the public comment period; be prepared, however, to sit through long and tedious meetings!

Our campaign included researching and sharing information about subsidy opportunities and financial benefits to electric school buses:
We found general knowledge about ESBs to be rather poor, and we had to constantly educate School administrators, transportation officials and community members about the benefits of ESBs.


Our campaign included participating in webinars to share our learning and experience with others about electric school buses:
Webinars allowed us to disseminate information to diverse audiences and get the word out beyond our School District.


Our campaign included working in partnership with similarly aligned organizations and individuals:
Success requires building a coalition that includes environmental organizations, school administrators, transportation departments, parents, funding sources and the community at large.

ESB event at nearby Fox Lane School
Riding in our new ESB with our State Senator


Our campaign included documenting our work, and making it publicly available:
We expended a lot of effort on maintaining a tight and accurate website with all information updated in a timely manner.


Our campaign included speaking truth to power, even when it was unpleasant and painful to do so:
Unfortunately, we had to repeatedly correct the record, set the facts straight and be the unpopular one in the room during the course of this campaign.


Our campaign included using social media to educate the public about electric school buses and to urge taxpayers to reject use of public funds for fossil fuel bus purchases:
Social media allowed us to reach a broader audience and make our case in creative and often more succinct ways.

Lessons learned:

  • Do as much as you can, never give up.
  • Shake-off “frictionizers.”
  • When others drop out, step up!
  • Don’t stop because of disappointments and setbacks; pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on with the important work.
  • Speak truth to power — even when it is unpleasant and painful to do so.
  • Be part of the broad stakeholder community including elected officials, school officials, community advocates, industry coalitions.
  • Accept and incorporate feedback, adjust messaging as circumstances change.
  • Engage in the political policy-making process.
  • Pursue information developments about technology and funding.
  • Listen to nay-sayers, address their concerns.
  • Be inspired by those who extend kindness and support.
  • Be grateful to those who offer a helping hand.
  • Be kind, even when others are not.
  • Emphasize that electrification is a positive solution to an unacceptable impending global system collapse.
  • Cite science and reliable sources to explain the need for this energy transformation.
  • Remember: the first electric bus is the hardest. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!
  • Do not be shy about asking for donations. So, here we go: if you cannot give your time and would like to show your support for our work, please donate to Croton100’s umbrella organization CURE100.org, here.
  • If you would like to be part of our winning team, meet us, join us by writing to [email protected].
  • And remember to:

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