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Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 and Community High School District 155 Secure Illinois EPA Grant for Electric Buses

On behalf of the Transportation Joint Agreement (TJA), Crystal Lake School District 47 and Community High School District 155 are excited to announce the approval of a $1,686,200 grant for the purchase of four electric buses and corresponding chargers. TJA is owned and operated by District 47 and District 155, providing transportation services to nine elementary schools, three middle schools, four high schools, and two parochial schools.

Driving a Cleaner Illinois is the grant program developed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) to distribute funding for various projects aimed at electrifying vehicles and reducing emissions. The Districts applied for and were granted a total of $1,686,200 to replace four diesel school buses with new model year 2024 electric buses and charging equipment.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is responsible for the disbursement of funds allocated to Illinois through the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Illinois received an initial allotment of approximately $108 million, earmarked specifically for initiatives aimed at curbing diesel emissions from mobile sources. This initiative targets specific priority areas outlined in the Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP), which includes McHenry County.

While electric school buses come with a higher upfront cost, they offer substantial savings in fuel and maintenance expenses over their operational lifetimes. Anticipated to be operational by June 2026, these state-of-the-art electric buses will significantly contribute to District 47 and District 155’s commitment to sustainable transportation solutions and creating a healthy environment for students.

"We are thrilled to be able to take this step towards a more sustainable future for TJA,” said Dr. Kathy J. Hinz, District 47 Superintendent. “These buses will not only reduce emissions from our school facilities, but prioritize the health and well-being of our students. By replacing diesel buses with electric ones, we're taking a significant step towards a cleaner, healthier future for both our climate and our kids."

Planning is in progress for necessary infrastructure updates, including electric connections and concrete work at TJA, located at 1204 McHenry Ave, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. TJA has been owned and operated by Crystal Lake School Districts 47 and 155 since 1974 and is overseen by an advisory board composed of school officials from both districts. TJA has 115 school buses, 130 employees and transports approximately 12,000 students per day.