The San Ramon Valley Unified School District's Board of Education will vote to approve an application for five new buses on April 12.
The district will submit an application for the $5 million Lower Emission School Bus Program (LESBP) grant, administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and California Air Resources Board.
"It's important that we participate in cleaning up the air in our community and getting these older diesel engines off the road," said SRVUSD Transportation Director Sheri Glaser. " We want to…enhance the air quality of the East Bay and reduce the exposure of small children to emissions."
The LESBP aims to reduce emissions of particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and non-methane hydrocarbons, which contribute to summertime smog. Grant money will be available to replace 1993 and older buses with clean school buses and to retrofit 1987 and newer in-use diesel school buses with emission control devices.
The school district currently runs 30 small and 12 large buses, five of which were built in 1993 or earlier. At approximately $140,000 a bus, Glaser said she hopes the district will be in the running for the grant.
While the district provides schools with smaller buses for special education students and full-size vehicles for field trips, home-to-school transport buses within SRVUSD will remain parent-pay based.
"For quite some time we've continued to look into (free buses), but the problem is we can't afford it. When it actually comes down to people putting their kids on a bus and paying for it, it's easier said than done," said SRVUSD Communications Coordinator Terry Koehne, adding that the district has had to cancel routes.
Applications for the grant are due on Friday, April 29 and grants will be awarded on June 10. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District did not return queries on the number of grant applicants.
The Board of Education will meet next on Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m.