Wasco Union School District becomes eco friendly

Posted at 9:21 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 01:10:23-05

Superintendent Kelly Richers said while Wasco isn't the biggest city, having five schools and so many programs can add up when it comes to gas.

“And when we have some centralized components of that such as the psychology department, or student services, the nursing, the English language learners division, the migrant. These people drive to all of the different schools,” said Richers.

While weighing the options Richers also said certain details helped make the decision.

Number one, we were able to reduce pollution significantly, by purchasing five cars and starting to install electric charging stations. And number two,  we reduce our paperwork because we don't have to pay stipends anymore to these people to drive around from school to school to school.

This idea started becoming a reality once the district had heard about the $20,000 grant that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Board had made available.

The deal sweetened even more when decision makers heard what else was being offered.

“What happened was then another additional $10,000 grant per vehicle came along so yes, the vehicles were a final price of $29,700 something dollars. They were free.

Richers also said while the cars came pretty much free, the district had questions about the charging stations,” said Richers.

Those questions were soon answered when the center for sustainable energy offered yet another grant for up to $7,000 per unit installed.

Knowing that, Richers said the plan is to install two stations at four different public locations.

“So we determined that Wasco is an excellent location to have public charging stations also. So what we're going to do is we're going to do both. We're going to have at the school sites public and private charging stations,” said Richers.

Richers explained that the public charging stations will start appearing over the next few months at Theresa Burke and Palm Avenue Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle School and behind the downtown library.

And while saving money was a big plus, positively impacting our health was even better.

“We have a lot of polluted air that sits here. And it's very important with the amount of asthma that we've been seeing to try and do anything we can to reduce the causes of that,” said Richers.

So the next time you're driving through Wasco make sure to keep an eye out for one of these new cars or charging stations.