EPA Announces Recipients of Clean School Bus Program Rebates

EPA Announces Recipients of Clean School Bus Program Rebates

On May 29, the EPA announced the award recipients for the Clean School Bus Program rebates. In total, the state of Wisconsin received $22.9 million in funding spread across 24 school districts. It’s exciting to see Wisconsin school districts leading the way in the transition to electric school buses, ensuring a cleaner and healthier commute for students across the state.

The Clean School Bus Program is focused on replacing traditional diesel-powered school buses with cleaner ones. This initiative, established under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), allocates $5 billion over five years for this transition. As of 2024, we’re in the third year of funding.

To be selected for the rebate, school districts are required to fill out a rebate form and are then entered into a lottery. Congratulations to those who received funding from the EPA for this round, we’re looking forward to supporting them as they transition to clean buses.

Here is the full list of Wisconsin award recipients:

  • Alma School District: $345,000
  • Auburndale School District: $200,000
  • Augusta School District: $530,000
  • Beloit School District: $8,705,000
  • Boyceville Community School District: $50,000
  • Elmbrook School District: $200,000
  • Green Lake School District: $200,000
  • Isthmus Montessori Academy Public Agency: $345,000.00
  • Ithaca School District: $25,000
  • Lancaster Community School District: $400,000
  • Marion School District: $420,000
  • Mayville School District: $800,000
  • Menominee Indian School District: $690,000
  • Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District: $200,000
  • Milwaukee School District: $7,465,000
  • Mount Horeb Area School District: $200,000
  • North Crawford School District: $690,000
  • Oneida Nation School: $245,000
  • Oregon School District: $200,000
  • Osseo-Fairchild School District: $200,000
  • Pittsville School District: $690,000
  • Platteville School District: $25,000
  • River Ridge School District: $25,000
  • Sheboygan Area School District: $100,000

To see the full list of recipients, please click on this link to go to the EPA website about the Clean School Bus rebate: Clean School Bus Program Awards.

Plugged in and Powered Up at Palmyra-Eagle Area School District

Plugged in and Powered Up at Palmyra-Eagle Area School District

“About six years ago, this school district was on the verge of dissolving for a variety of reasons,” said Dr. Ryan Krohn, district administrator. “When we doubled down our efforts as a board to stay open, we said we’d invest in innovation and sustainable efforts.”

In the fall of 2022, the district applied for the Clean Bus Program Grant through the EPA, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. As they charted their path forward, the leaders of the Palmyra-Eagle Area School District had to shift their thinking about the future, which ultimately led to electric buses.

When the school district learned about the EPA grant, they brought the idea of transitioning to electric buses to the school board. Together, district leaders and the board looked at how this change aligned with their goals of safe, healthy, and effective schools.

“We knew it was going to require new thinking, new experiences, and ultimately, we looked at this as a starting spot to transform our system,” Krohn said.

When considering the transition to electric school buses, the district looked at efficiencies that would be gained, not only in terms of the costs from fuel savings but also in terms of health, safety, and the environment. Addressing these aspects required the district to strengthen and build new partnerships with key stakeholders. This included energy utilities, local police, the transportation company they work with, and many other partners. Thanks to the support they received in return, they became the first school district in Wisconsin to start using electric buses to transport their students.

“There’s no way our school district, being led by someone like myself, was going to be able to be able to pull this off (alone),” Krohn said .”My background is not in this.”

The district was ultimately awarded $2 million dollars, enough for six electric school buses. Since receiving the buses, Ryan has been participating in webinars and other events to share the story of Palymra-Eagle’s journey. That journey and the connections they made along the way have led to the district leaders altering how they look at their 10-year capital plan. It has also led to greater engagement with the community.

“Our recent efforts, just because of this, ended up in our community donating money for a new greenhouse,” Krohn said. “We have a strong agricultural program in our school district.”

Both the electric school buses and this new greenhouse serve as educational tools for the students of the Palymra-Eagle School district. As Dr. Krohn said, it also empowers their students and engages them in thinking about the shifts that need to happen for our energy future.

Electric School Buses Arrive in Wisconsin

Electric School Buses Arrive in Wisconsin

The Palmyra-Eagle Area School District, in collaboration with Dousman Transport Company, has deployed Wisconsin’s first registered electric school buses. The new buses were funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program.

The community joined the district for a celebration on Wednesday, October 25, at the Irving L. Young Community Center on the Palmyra-Eagle Middle and High School campus. Palmyra-Eagle Area School District not only has the first registered electric school buses in Wisconsin but is the first district to switch over its entire fleet to electric.

Ryan Krohn, Palmyra-Eagle School District Superintendent, said, “As we look at where we’re going, in our mission statement we talk about the word innovation, and while our school district prides itself on performance excellence, there’s also a time for us to think about the future and sustainability.”

Krohn’s Full Comments:


The new superintendent also noted that the buses will help to keep district dollars in the classroom and support learning.

When considering whether to apply for the funding former Palmyra-Eagle School District Gray asked, “What do we save in fuel costs?”

Upon learning that number he determined quickly that it was a done deal.

“We’ve got to do this, we’re talking $50,000 – $60,000 on up in fuel savings and that’s a big number to our district here,” Gray said.

The district received $2.4 million through the Clean Bus Program to acquire all six electric school buses and install charging stations. The Clean Bus Program, which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, covered the full cost of the buses for the district.

Fourteen additional Wisconsin schools, which also received Clean Bus Program funding, will receive their buses over the next few months.

By giving districts the opportunity to acquire these buses without having to use district dollars they are able to immediately start saving on fuel costs.

During the celebration one bus driver noted that fully charging the bus they were driving only cost $4. For perspective that’s less than a single gallon of diesel at the time of writing.

The implementation of electric buses will lead to healthier communities and smoother, quieter rides for students. Fully charged, the electric buses, manufactured by IC Bus, can travel around 135 miles. This transition to electric school buses means healthier, quieter rides for the approximately 325 Palmyra-Eagle students who currently take the bus to school.

“In all my years of administration I’ve never seen such excitement over yellow buses,” Gray said.

RENEW Wisconsin Hosts Electric School Bus Events

RENEW Wisconsin Hosts Electric School Bus Events

On Wednesday, September 20, RENEW Wisconsin held multiple events focused on the benefits electric school buses (ESB) can bring to Wisconsin. The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over five years to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. RENEW worked with Lion Electric to bring an electric school bus to Wisconsin, promoting the health and financial benefits of clean transportation.

 To start the day, RENEW held private tours of a Lion Electric school bus for Republican Legislators in conjunction with the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum and private tours for Democratic Legislators in conjunction with Wisconsin Conservation Voters. Both events provided a platform for attendees to ask questions about the bus and program to Lion Electric and RENEW Staff.

After the private tours, RENEW and Lion Electric staff opened the electric bus tours to the public, inviting passersby and anyone interested to ride the bus around the Capitol and ask questions of the experts.

RENEW and Lion Electric ended the day at Forest Edge Elementary School, offering the opportunity to tour the bus, hear from students why they want to electrify their school’s transportation, and tour the Forest Edge facility, Wisconsin’s first net zero school!

RENEW was grateful for the opportunity to bring an electric school bus
to the public and private sectors. The EPA announced the opening of
its 2023 Clean School Bus Program on September 28, 2023, which will remain open until January 31, 2024. To learn more or ask questions about this
program, please reach out to us at info@renewwisconsin.org.

Speeches from Forest Edge: 

Why do fifth graders want Electric School Buses? 
Why do Seniors want Electric School Buses?

2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program Now Open!

2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program Now Open!

The EPA has made $500 million in rebate funding available for the 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) Rebate Program. The application period opened on September 28 and will remain open until January 31, 2024. This is the second rebate funding opportunity through the multi-year funding program.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched this program to help school districts purchase new, cleaner school buses for little or no cost. The Clean School Bus Program funds the replacement of existing diesel and gas-powered buses with cleaner buses that result in better air quality on the bus, near bus loading areas, and in the community generally. This program not only protects the health of children and the environment but also reduces operational costs for schools.

2023 Clean School Bus Rebates Overview

The EPA is prioritizing applications from high-need, rural, and Tribal school districts. There are nearly 100 Wisconsin school districts on the priority list. School Districts are eligible to receive rebates of up to $345,000 per school bus, up to 25 buses per district. These funds are also intended to cover the cost of charging infrastructure.

The deadline to apply for this year’s rebate program is January 31, 2024. School districts that previously applied for CSB funding may reapply if they meet eligibility requirements. Applicants on the 2022 CSB Rebate waitlist must also reapply.


Important Dates



Online Rebates Application Period September 28, 2023 – January 31, 2024
Final date to submit questions January 10, 2024
EPA reviews rebate applications and begins the selection process February 2024
EPA notifies applicants of selection and posts selectees online. Selectees can proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure April 2024
Selectees submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders April 2024 – October 2024
Deadline to receive new buses, install EV chargers, replace old buses, and submit final documentation April 2026

The following entities are eligible to apply for EPA school bus rebates:

  • State and local governmental entities that provide bus services, such as public school districts, including charter schools, with an NCES District ID.
  • Eligible contractors such as for profit or nonprofit entities that have the capacity to sell or finance clean or zero-emissions school buses or related charging infrastructure to school bus owners.
  • Nonprofit school transportation associations.
  • Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, or tribally controlled schools responsible for the purchase of school buses or providing school bus service for a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) funded school.

For questions about eligibility, please contact cleanschoolbus@epa.gov.  

For more information on electric school buses, route planning assistance, and applying to the Clean School Bus Program, contact RENEW at info@renewwisconsin.org.

Electric School Buses – the Clean and Cost-Effective Transportation Solution for Your Community and School District.

Electric School Buses – the Clean and Cost-Effective Transportation Solution for Your Community and School District.

Electric school buses have zero tailpipe emissions, offering clean and healthy rides and reducing operating expenses. However, the upfront cost of $375,000 is a significant barrier. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean School Bus Program allows school districts in all 50 states to replace old diesel buses with new electric buses at no cost.

Last month, I drove a school bus for the first time. Despite not having much experience driving large vehicles, I was pleasantly surprised by how similar it felt to driving my 2020 Chevy Bolt EV. The ride was smooth and quiet, and the regenerative braking system made it easy to control the large bus without needing to use the brakes too often. Overall, it was a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

The electric bus I drove – a LionC electric school bus – can carry 77 students for up to 155 miles on a single charge. This bus was fresh off the assembly line at the new LION assembly plant in Joliet, IL. The plant is located about 90 miles south of the Wisconsin border and is North America’s largest electric school bus assembly plant. The plant opened earlier this year and will support 1,400 Clean Energy Jobs and produce 20,000 fully electric school buses and electric trucks per year.  

Why Clean School Buses? 

Every day, more than 25 million American children rely on school buses for safe transport to and from school, collectively covering over three billion miles each year. However, the exhaust from these buses can harm human health, particularly for children whose lungs are still developing. To address this issue, the Clean School Bus Program provides rebates and grants to replace existing diesel and gas-powered buses with cleaner models. This initiative aims to improve air quality as well as the safety and well-being of our students, their bus drivers, and the surrounding communities.

Electric school buses are both cleaner and cheaper to operate than diesel buses. On average, diesel buses use 6 miles per gallon [mpg], while electric buses boost that efficiency to an equivalent of 17 mpg. Electric school buses can save more than $170,000 on fuel and maintenance throughout their lifespan. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s lack of petroleum production means that switching to electric buses can keep our energy dollars in the state, support local jobs, and contribute to the state’s general economic growth.

Wisconsin Schools are Going Electric!

Last fall, 15 school districts in Wisconsin took advantage of the Clean School Bus Program and were awarded 65 electric school buses scheduled to be delivered by October 2024. The EPA is now preparing for a second round of rebates, which will be announced this fall. Schools and transportation contractors can apply online for Clean School Bus rebates, which are awarded through a lottery system. Priority is given to rural, tribal, and high-need school districts. Those that qualify can receive up to $395,000 to purchase a bus and charging station in exchange for an older diesel bus for up to 25 buses. The list of prioritized school districts can be found here.

You can sign up for updates on the Clean School Bus Program and see the list of 2022 award recipients. For more information on electric school buses, route planning assistance, and applying to the EPA’s program, contact RENEW at info@renewwisconsin.org.