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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Seahurst Elementary School
14603 14th Avenue SW Burien, WA 98166

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Electric School Buses Come to Highline & JumpStart Kindergarten

Electric School Buses Come to Highline & JumpStart Kindergarten

Dr. Duran Cuts the Ribbon & JumpStart Kindergarten Students Ride a New Electric Bus

Student waves from door of bus

We celebrated our first three electric school buses with a ribbon cutting on Thursday. Superintendent Duran rode the bus to Seahurst Elementary School with guests and staff to watch some of our brilliant JumpStart kindergarten students hop on the shiny, new bus and wave goodbye after their second day of JumpStart.

Transportation Director Devin Denney said Highline is receiving three more buses for a total of six with generous help from a grant program administered by the state Department of Ecology. On hand to help with the ribbon cutting was Ecology's VW Settlement Grants Unit Supervisor, Air Quality Program, Molly Spiller. Spiller said she has helped oversee grants for 40 electric buses, but this was the first time she got to ride in one!

Highline's Chief of Operations Scott Logan said that replacing diesel- and gas-powered buses with electric buses is a win for lower carbon emissions as well as decreased operating and maintenance costs. He thanked Ecology staff for the first $900,000 reimbursable grant for the three buses, and a $75,000 grant for charging stations. A second round of identical grant funds will help purchase three more buses and charging stations. 

The cost to the district after reimbursement for the first three buses and charging stations will be approximately $275,000. That is less than the cost of purchasing two diesel school buses. And the $275,000 will be returned to the district over the life of the buses through depreciation allocation payments from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Dr. Duran boards school bus

According to Schetky Bus and Van Sales, the electric buses purchased by Highline:

  • Reduce operating costs by up to 85% and maintenance costs by up to 66%
  • Eliminate almost all engine maintenance, as there are no fluids or filters present in an electric motor
  • Offer vast cost savings compared to traditional transit options that utilize fossil fuels

Superintendent Duran thanked Spiller and Ecology for the grants and thanked Highline staff in Transportation who worked on the grant applications, and Capital Planning & Construction staff responsible for the installation of the charging stations and electrical service.

"Thank you for helping us step into a better, cleaner future for our students and community," he said.

Dr. Duran noted that a 100-Kilowatt solar panel installation is going in on the roof of Highline High School this month--a student-led project to harness clean energy.

"Highline also has a school bond on November ballots that will bring three more of our aging schools into a new future with safer, modern and more energy-efficient learning spaces," he said. "The future is looking very bright in Highline, and I'm so happy to continue this work of helping our students graduate prepared for the future they choose."

Guests included two members of Highline's Capital Projects Oversight Committee who have been keeping an eye on the district's bond budget and the completion of three new schools and critical needs projects: Elizabeth Leavitt, principal for climate response, with Jacobs; and Jeffrey Brown, Aviation Chief Operating Officer, SeaTac Airport.

Person talking in front of school buses

 

Group of people at ribbon cutting for three electric buses

 

Student on bus

 

Students get on bus