PHOENIX — Arizona has released $5 million in its final wave of Volkswagen (VW) settlement funding, approving the purchase of new school buses for 45 rural school districts and charter schools.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Monday that the school districts received approval for the purchase of new school buses after the state had remaining funds available from a $38 million plan to purchase new school buses for low-income schools.
The state chose to allocate the remaining funds for the buses to schools in rural counties, and removed all requirements for receiving a school bus except for those criteria required as part of the original settlement agreement, according to a news release from the governor's office. The state also used a consistent application process to determine the needs of the rural school districts, many of which did not receive a bus during the first four waves of funding.
“Investing in our K-12 schools remains a top priority,” Ducey said. “Arizona found an innovative way to use these settlement funds to invest in public education. The new school buses have gone a long way to benefit Arizona schools, especially those in low-income districts and rural communities. And with this last round of funding, every rural county in Arizona received at least one bus. Rural schools can use freed up funds to meet other capital needs.”
As SBF previously reported, Ducey released the school bus replacement plan in June. The plan included the purchase of an estimated 280 school buses using VW settlement funds to low-income communities across the state.
In the first wave of funding, as SBF reported in December, $15.9 million was awarded to 55 districts and charter schools for the purchase of 142 diesel and alternative-fuel school buses.
The second wave of funding, as SBF reported in January, awarded 22 school districts 76 diesel and alternative-fuel school buses, totaling $8.4 million.
In the third and fourth waves of funding, as SBF reported in February, $7.5 million was awarded to 35 school districts and charter schools for the purchase of 67 new school buses.
To date, Arizona has allocated a total of $36.8 million for the purchase of 330 school buses at 141 school districts and charter schools.
To view a list of the latest funding recipients, go here.
For more information on the plan, go here.