The main event for Love the Bus 2016 will be held at Cosumnes River Elementary School in California. Pictured is the 2015 main event.

The main event for Love the Bus 2016 will be held at Cosumnes River Elementary School in California. Pictured is the 2015 main event.

The American School Bus Council (ASBC) will hold the national Love the Bus main event at an elementary school near Sacramento, California, on Feb. 19.

The event will take place at Cosumnes River Elementary School in Sloughhouse. The school’s nearly 500 students, sporting yellow “I Love the Bus” T-shirts, will hear from various dignitaries about being respectful to their bus drivers and appreciating the many benefits of the yellow school bus, including safety, reduced traffic congestion, reduced energy use and air pollution, and equitable access to educational programs.

The speakers slated to appear include Jared Blumenfeld, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 administrator; Congressman Ami Bera; and Elk Grove Unified School District (USD) Superintendent Chris Hoffman.

ASBC officials said that Cosumnes River Elementary School is an ideal host for Love the Bus, and not just because about 60% of its students ride the school bus. The school is part of Elk Grove USD, and though school bus service is not required by California law, the district has embraced the value that school buses provide to students and parents, according to ASBC.

Also, Elk Grove USD has gone beyond California’s and the EPA’s stringent environmental regulations and has purchased buses that are powered by alternative fuels. Elk Grove is reportedly the first school district in northern California to operate a propane-fueled bus, and the district runs 25 compressed natural gas buses.

ASBC will honor Elk Grove USD’s student transportation efforts with an award at the Love the Bus event.

Love the Bus began in 2007 and is held every February. It is a month-long celebration of the importance of the yellow school bus, with a focus on thanking school bus drivers for safely transporting 25 million children to and from school every day. Love the Bus events are held at schools, school bus facilities and other locations across the country.

Students, teachers and administrators can go to www.LoveTheBus.com for free downloads of Love the Bus materials, including an educator’s toolkit, Love the Bus T-shirt templates and bumper magnets.

“Much like teachers, the school bus driver plays a significant role in each child's life, and the Love the Bus event is one of many ways to celebrate the importance of school bus transportation and the school bus driver’s work and dedication,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager of IC Bus.

National Association for Pupil Transportation President Keith Henry added, “At a time when budgets are tight and there is much rhetoric about the cost of government, the yellow school bus remains a local government service that provides tremendous return for local taxpayers.”

National School Transportation Association President Todd Monteferrario said, “Love the Bus affords school children the opportunity to recognize the important role the school bus driver has every day in their education. Safe access to school is the first step toward success for all children.”

Leon Langley, president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, added, “School buses are an American success story. They are the largest system of public transportation in the United States, and school buses ensure every child who rides is transported in the safest form of student transportation on the planet.”

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