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.