Rose Tree Media School District Receives $300,000 Grant

Rose Tree Media School District has been notified it is the recipient of the second round of Natural Gas Vehicle Development Program grants administered by the Department of Environmental Protection to continue upgrading the District’s school bus fleet to natural gas vehicles in the amount of $300,000.


After being notified of a new three-year Natural Gas Vehicle Development Program grant administered by the Department of Environmental Protection, Rose Tree Media School District, with the support and encouragement of the Board of School Directors and State Representative Thomas Killion, applied for the grant that would distribute up to $20 million in competitive grants over the next three years for natural gas vehicle purchase and conversion.  In round one last year, the District was awarded $499, 994 in grant funds. The intent of this grant program is to spur the demand for natural gas as an alternative to petroleum fuel and to take advantage of the benefits of a cleaner, cheaper, domestic transportation fuel source. As unconventional gas development continues across Pennsylvania, Act 13 enacts stronger environmental standards and builds upon the state’s ongoing efforts to move toward energy independence.  There is an abundance of shale gas available in PA that will keep natural gas prices low for the foreseeable future.  


 It is Rose Tree Media School Districts motto, “Excellence Today for Tomorrow” that drives the administration and teaching staff at the District to uphold the highest level of education standards for its students.  The same value rings true for RTMSD’s view on preserving the environment.    District policy outlines efforts to conserve energy and natural resources while exercising sound financial management. The grant funds will enable RTMSD to live up to its motto by contributing to the environmental impact on our community. 


As a result of last year’s round one grant award and this year’s round two grant award, the District will receive a total of $799,994 in grant funds. The grants will provide resources towards the purchase of 27 new CNG buses and the conversion of eight diesel buses over the next two years.  With the purchase of twelve additional CNG buses the District will make an even greater   environmental impact on our community.  Natural gas buses are quieter and cleaner.  These twelve new buses will reduce CO2 emissions that would be equivalent to: 16,692   tree seedlings grown for 10 years, 528 acres of pine or fir forest, 132 passenger vehicles, 1,512 barrels of oil consumed, energy of 36 homes for one year and burning 12 coal railcars.  A much broader benefit is reducing our country’s reliance on foreign oil and helping to create a more sustainable world.  With a CNG transition from diesel, the district can save money for the local community and taxpayers since the life-cycle cost of CNG vehicles are substantially lower than standard vehicles. 


The fuel capacity will be supported by a new fueling station owned and operated by the district.

The District has partnered with Johnson Controls’ as the design/build contractor for the construction of the fueling station and program manager of the overall CNG transition plan.   The district looks forward to working with Johnson Controls’ for the completion of this project that will benefit the community, the schools and the environment.  If you have any questions, please contact James M. Wigo, Sr., Superintendent of Schools. 

Susan April 07, 2014 at 08:49 AM
The state gave RTM $800,000 to seduce the school district into converting a few of its school buses to run on natural gas. However that's barely 12% of the total cost because then the district had to borrow another $5,715,000 to build a new CNG fueling station and buy more of the new buses. While borrowing this $5,715,000, the district's administration then decided to borrow another $14,570,000 to refinance a $14,995,000 loan the district took out in July 2004. During the last 10 years the district has paid $7,411,322 in interest on that loan and almost nothing on the principal. What did they do with the rest of the money - use it as a slush fund? When I say 'district' it's really the district's taxpayers who paid the interest and will pay off the new loans. To get these two loans, the taxpayers paid $64,532.16 in paperwork fees with even the district's solicitor Tom Kelly taking a cut, $12,500 to be exact, even though the administration won't tell you what it was he did to earn the money. The fact is that every time the school district does anything a whole lot of hands go digging into the taxpayers' pockets. And the school board claims they are good fiscal managers? Give me a break.
Eve April 07, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Furthermore, this program is toted as a "green energy" initiative, and that could not be farther from the truth. The funding comes from "impact fees" that natural gas companies pay to the Commonwealth of PA. They pay these fees because the impact of hydraulic fraturing (fracking) is so incredibly destructive to communities and families in the western part of the state. But these impact fees do not compensate Pennsylvania families and communities for the devastation they experience as a result of fracking (well contamination, life altering illness, loss of property value, etc.). On the contrary, these "impact fees" are funneled into initiatives like this one that "spur the demand for natural gas". In other words, the "impact fees" are used to direct more consumer to consuming natural gas. Safety in the distribution of compressed natural gas is also a concern. Our pipeline infrastructure was not designed for CNG. Leaks and explosions have occurred too frequently throughout the US to allow us to proceed without even an ounce of consideration for safety. Do we really want one of these pumping stations on the grounds of Penncrest? This issue is discussed in further detail in a blog on Transition Town Media's website: http://transitiontownmedia.org/is-a-cng-school-bus-conversion-a-green-initiative-or-rather-grey/


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