Phoenix, Arizona - Governor Doug Ducey today announced $5 million in funding for the purchase of 45 new school buses for rural school districts and charter schools across Arizona.
In June 2018, Governor Ducey released a $38-million plan to purchase an estimated 280 school buses utilizing settlement funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. After completing four waves of funding totaling $31.8 million for the purchase of 285 buses, Arizona had remaining funds available to allocate additional buses.
Arizona chose to allocate the remaining funds for school buses to schools in rural counties, working directly with 13 rural county school superintendents. The state removed all requirements for receiving a bus except for those criteria required as part of the original settlement agreement and used a consistent application process to ascertain the needs of those rural districts. Many of the school districts receiving buses in the final allocation did not receive a bus during the first four waves.
“Investing in our K-12 schools remains a top priority,” said Governor Ducey. “Arizona found an innovative way to use these settlement funds to invest in public education. The new school buses have gone a long way to benefit Arizona schools, especially those in low-income districts and rural communities. And with this last round of funding, every rural county in Arizona received at least one bus. Rural schools can use freed up funds to meet other capital needs.”
“We are extremely grateful to Governor Ducey for prioritizing rural school districts when deciding how to allocate the remaining school buses,” said Jill Broussard, Pinal County School Superintendent. “The additional funding for new school buses is an incredible help. Not only can we rest assured that our students will be able to get to and from school safely, we can also focus on funding other pressing projects in our districts.”
With the last wave of funding, Arizona has allocated a total of $36.8 million for the purchase of 330 school buses at 141 school districts and charter schools.
See the list of applications awarded in the fifth wave of funding HERE.
BACKGROUND ON THE SETTLEMENT: In January of 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act by modifying its vehicles to cheat emissions tests. The suit resulted in a settlement agreement that requires Volkswagen to spend $10 billion to buy back vehicles or compensate vehicle owners and $4.7 billion to offset pollution from the modified cars. Arizona will receive $57 million over the next two years. The plan also includes funding other mission critical projects such as supporting wildland fire crews and equipment for the Arizona Department of Transportation.