Georgetown ISD replaces nearly one-fourth of fleet with clean-energy propane buses, receives award

Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January. (Courtesy Georgetown ISD)
Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January. (Courtesy Georgetown ISD)

Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January. (Courtesy Georgetown ISD)

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Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January. (Courtesy Georgetown ISD)
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Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January. (Courtesy Georgetown ISD)

Georgetown ISD will replace nearly a quarter of its fleet with clean-energy propane buses by the end of January, according a Jan. 9 news release.

With voter-approved 2018 bond money, the district purchased 21 propane buses to replace those nearing the end of their useful life. GISD was also able to purchase an additional 12 buses with $1.3 million in added grant funds from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, totaling 33 buses.

“Every decision we make is student-centered,” GISD Superintendent Fred Brent said in the release. “By utilizing grant opportunities and cost-efficient alternatives for transportation, we’re able to provide a cleaner, healthier way to get kids to and from school, while directing the savings into other opportunities that support teaching and learning.”

For this, the district received the Clean Energy Innovation Award from the Propane Education
and Research Council on Jan. 8.

The use of propane buses will allow for cost savings and environmental benefits, district officials said. The cost of diesel fuel is approximately $2.25 per gallon, compared to propane costs at 98 cents per gallon. Additionally, the U.S. government announced in December that it will extend a propane fuel rebate in 2020 in the amount of 37 cents per gallon, the release said. Propane buses also require less maintenance, adding to the lifetime savings, it said.



Brent said in a Jan. 8 panel discussion that the cost savings would allow the district to put more funding in the classroom as well as teacher salaries.

"What this savings will do for us is allow us to prioritize funds for our staff, and a lot of that could mean salaries," Brent said. "Any way we can maximize savings it goes toward our greatest cause. ... This savings does not happen in isolation; it has a compounding affect."

The propane buses will also have environment benefits, such as less harmful emissions that could affect the students and bus drivers, as well as a reduction in noise pollution as the engines run more quietly, officials said.

The propane buses are stationed at the Westside bus terminal, which is also the site of a new propane fueling station. Georgetown ISD is only the third organization to receive such an award from PERC, the release said.