For a second consecutive year, Toms River Regional Schools has been selected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in rebates as part of the EPA’s Clean Diesel Rebate Program. For the 2017-2018 school year, the district has been awarded up to $200,000 in rebate funding to replace 10 of its older buses with more fuel-efficient 2018 models.

Last year the district was one of only 82 organizations nationwide to receive rebate funding. The EPA is expected to post its 2017 selections on the Clean Diesel Rebate program website soon.

“To be selected a second consecutive year for EPA bus rebates is the result of both good fortune and our strong commitment to seeking the best ways to maximize our resources at no impact to our taxpayers,” said Superintendent David Healy. “To be rewarded for doing the right thing-- providing our students safe, clean transportation-- with savings we can reinvest into the classroom is a remarkable opportunity, and we are sincerely grateful to the EPA for our selection.”

The mission of the Clean Diesel Rebate Program is to “encourage school bus fleet turnover so more children can ride buses with the cleanest emissions standards,” and to reduce harmful emissions. Last year Toms River Regional Schools was selected for $180k in rebates as part of the program, a process it finalized in September with the delivery of nine replacement buses.

The district’s Transportation Department has the largest board-owned bus fleet in New Jersey, with more than 160 school buses.

Its selection is in line with the district’s numerous efforts in sustainability over the past several years. Members of the administrative team sit on Toms River Township’s Green Team, and TRRS has its own Green Team that is registered with Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a program that has supported environmental initiatives with $36k in grants in the past year. Gardens and/or greenhouses have been installed at most schools, and curriculum-based programs have targeted ways to reduce schools’ carbon footprint.

The process of applying for EPA funding through the Clean Diesel Rebate Program-- fully supported by the Toms River School Board-- began in 2016 with a tip from high school science teacher Christine Girtain, and has since involved the efforts of Grant Writer Mike Kenny, Transportation Director Margaret Donnelly, secretary Kathleen Buchan, shift foreman Steve Winkleman, the purchasing department, and several administrators.

“To be selected for EPA rebate funding two years straight is yet another feather in the cap for Toms River Regional Schools,” said School Board President Russell K. Corby. “Under budget constraints, our district has proactively sought and attained funding to meet the needs of our students and, in this case, support a healthier Toms River community. Our school board is proud to support this initiative and grateful to accept funding that will have a significant impact.”

The Clean Diesel Rebate Program bus replacement process is scheduled to be completed by September 2018.

For more information about the EPA Clean Diesel Rebate program, contact grant writer Mike Kenny at mkenny@trschools.com.

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