Clark County School Superintendent, Jesus Jara recently took to the podium at the Arville bus yard to announce to the world that the district has its first electric school bus. The Review-Journal reports that $10 million from the taxpayers will be used to buy 25 more electric buses “to contribute to cleaner air in neighborhoods around schools.”
Mr. Jara called it an “honor” to innovate with the new buses.
Currently, the district “operates the country’s largest owned and operated school bus fleet,” with 1,924 buses. So 25 electric buses out of almost 2,000 may not improve the foul air around schools very much, but — with the district’s abysmal education rankings — “honors” are few and far between, Mr. Jara has to take an “honor” wherever he can find it.
Reportedly, the electric bus will save $60 per day in fuel costs. At 25 buses for $10 million, that’s $400,000 per bus, and it will take only about 37 years of transporting students 180 days per year to recoup the investment.
It could be argued that students would benefit more from spending the $10 million on something other than electrifying barely more than 1 percent of the school buses. We could give $10,000 bonuses to 1,000 new teachers. Maybe beef up security at schools, hire tutors or provide other educational resources.
But using the money for other than electric buses ignores the horror of sending our children to schools plagued by air quality that presumably approximates coal-powered London of the Charles Dickens era. Still, we could make the kids … wear masks.