By Ryan Santistevan, Special Thanks to AFN
On Sept. 30 the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) donated a total of $2,500 to Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary School in Ahwatukee to recognize the efforts of the elementary school’s district.
The fact that more than half a million students ride a propane bus to school each day prompted PERC to start an educational campaign presenting to more school districts the benefits of switching to propane-fueled buses. Such benefits range from saving hundreds of dollars each year to the happiness of those riding these buses.
Last year, the Kyrene School District replaced 37 diesel buses with Thomas Built propane models. Eric Nethercutt, the school district’s facilities and transportation director, said a very positive impact has been made since the replacement, especially on the bus routes.
“I think the first thing is the relationship between a bus driver and students,” Nethercutt said. “On a diesel bus, that engine is so loud that the driver has to yell over the engine, the kids yell over the engine. A propane engine is like the engine in your car, it’s very quiet so it allows the driver and children to talk in a normal tone.”
Parents in the district are also happier, according to Nethercutt.
“We also purchased, unrelated to propane, seat belts on these buses,” he said. “It’s a safer driving experience that parents, especially in our community, tend to really like the clean nature of propane. It reduces carbon footprints and this means a lot to some people, that tends to be where we get our most positive feedback.”
Barren Glassgow, executive director of the Arizona Propane Gas Association, understands that teachers use their own resources to support their students with the necessary tools.
“It’s estimated the average teacher spends $500 out of their own pockets for classroom needs,” Glassgow said. “This money will go back into teachers’ pockets to offset some of those costs.”
Suzanne Ramundo, principal of Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary School, noted that the donation is going to be of great use in the classrooms.
“I’ve met with the teachers and they have some areas and ideas they’d like it to go toward,” Ramundo said. “I think every grade level has something they’ve been looking to purchase. It’s really going to directly go to the teachers. As a grade level each team will have an opportunity to fit it to their grade level needs. They’re very excited about that.”