As the big yellow buses get ready to go round and round the county packed with students, they will be touting bragging rights for helping the environment.
The Newton County School System (NCSS) was given the Georgia Diesel Emissions Reduction (GaDER) Blue Sky Award last month by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) at the Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation’s (GAPT) 50th Annual Conference and Trade Show for reducing emissions in 75 percent or more of its school bus fleet. Only two other school systems in Georgia received this highest achievement offered in the GaDER Program.
Randall Luna, transportation coordinator, and Michael Barr, director of support services, accepted the award on behalf of the NCSS.
“Working diligently to be good stewards of the environment serves every citizen in our community,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “I am proud of the efforts of our transportation team to reduce our contribution to pollution through reduced emissions. To be named as one of only three districts in the state to receive the Blue Sky Award is certainly confirmation of the focused work of the Newton County School System’s transportation team.”
Emissions reductions are achieved through the early replacement of older buses, the use of alternative fuels or by installing emissions control devices on the buses, according to an NCSS press release. The GaDER School Bus Program helps school systems across the state by providing grants, technical assistance and education.
“Older diesel buses emit a high amount of particles in the exhaust. New buses and those that have been retrofitted with diesel particulate filters reduce these particulates by more than 85 percent, which results in a significant improvement in the air quality inside and around the school bus,” said William Cook, EPD environmental engineer and GaDER Program manager. “Transportation directors and their staff who receive a GaDER sward should be celebrated for their hard work and dedication to ensure that school children are riding in the safest and cleanest buses available.”
For more information about the GaDER Program, go to gaderprogram.org.