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NCS Community Newsletter 3-24-23

NCS Community Newsletter 3-24-23
Good Afternoon,

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide the NCS Community with an update regarding our (EV) Electric Bus grant that NCS was awarded this past fall.  As previously shared, Naples CSD was one of only a few districts in the state to receive this federal grant, which includes $750,000 towards the purchase of two electric buses and $40,000 to support infrastructure. In addition to sharing where our district currently stands, allow me to provide some background of importance:
  • Per New York State Law, enacted in 2022, school bus fleets are required to be entirely zero-emission by 2035.  All buses purchased after 2027 will be required to be zero-emission per this current law.
  • The cost of electric buses, in relation to diesel buses, is significantly higher and of course this transition will also require infrastructure components to charge and maintain these buses.
  • There is no specific plan in place to support funding for this statewide school mandate; school districts have received no information as to how the costs of these mandates might be supported.  As a school district, it is our hope to be proactive and minimize the future impact on the NCS taxpayers.
  • While there could be changes over time with these mandates, state leadership has made it clear that they plan to continue to course of moving toward electric bus transportation.
  • The opportunity to apply nearly $800,000 of federal grant money to assist NCS with this mandated transition was important to pursue as we seek to be fiscally responsible.
In recent months, Pat Elwell (Transportation Director), Chad Hunt (School Business Administrator) and I have worked closely with Leonard Bus Sales (NCS Bus Vendor) to determine actual bus costs along with infrastructure, which of course varies from district to district based on many variables.  I extend my thanks to these individuals for the hours they have worked in order to maximize the benefits this grant can provide us.

To that end, the grant will cover 98.2% of the purchase cost of two electric buses.  From a dollars standpoint, the actual cost to district will only be $13,741 and will be covered through our general fund budget. 

In terms of infrastructure, we plan to apply the $40,000 of grant money towards this work, though as a district we would need to support the remainder of this cost.  This is where the NCS community will have the opportunity to grant approval for use of up to $100,000 from our previously established Capital Reserve Fund.  This ensures no tax increase as a result of this project.  This proposition will be part of the annual Budget vote in May.  With approval, NCS would go forth with utilization of the EV grant.   If the proposition is defeated, we would not pursue the grant and as a district would reassess necessary steps required to meet NYS EV vehicle mandates as we approach 2027.

Should you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out at any time. 

Kevin Swartz
NCS Superintendent