Lynchburg City Schools Gets the Biggest Grant in Virginia for School Bus Electrification

By Amie Knowles
March 23, 2023

A total of $9.8 million will help Lynchburg City Schools purchase 25 zero-emission school buses, which will hit the road later this year.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, and pretty soon, the cost of operation will go down and down for Lynchburg City Schools (LCS).

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, recently visited William Marvin Bass Elementary School in Lynchburg, where he discussed federal funding he helped secure through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency, LCS received the biggest grant in the state to electrify its school bus fleet.  

A total of $9.8 million will help LCS purchase 25 zero-emission school buses, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the community.

The purchase will switch one-third of the division’s 75 school buses to electric, which Kaine said would position the Central Virginia school system to become “definitely the leader in Virginia.” 

“Electric is really good for fleet vehicles,” Kaine said. “So if you think about it, school bus, you think about postal service, you think about UPS and FedEx, the folks who use the big fleets, that’s where you really end up getting both savings [and] environmental benefits by electrification.”

The division spends about $1 million a year on fuel, according to Hope Watts, LCS director of transportation. Dr. Reid Wodicka, deputy superintendent of operations and strategic planning, said the switch would likely save LCS between $250,000 and $300,000 per year. 

Also, charging costs are lower at nighttime when there’s less power demand and higher during the summer—both of which work in the school system’s favor. 

For the environment, Wodicka said that the electric fleet would aid in air quality protection—and that would help ensure “that our students have the best quality learning environment for every single child in Lynchburg.”

The new LCS electric school bus fleet will roll out in the late fall.

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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