Austintown gets grant for buses

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The Austintown Local School District announced Thursday that is has received a $1 million grant to buy 14 new buses.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency awarded the district the $1.07 million grant to purchase propane-fueled buses, said Austintown School District’s Transportation Director Colleen Murphy.

Murphy announced the grant at the school board’s Thursday meeting. She said the new buses will help save money on fuel and maintenance costs.

“They’re trying to take these old, dirty inefficient buses off the road and replace them with clean-running, alternative-fuel buses,” Murphy said.

The district is one of three in Ohio to receive the grant, which Murphy applied for nine months ago. The district will have to pay $267,000 as part of the grant.

Farrell Gas has committed to installing a propane tank on campus to fuel the buses.

The district’s current fleet has an average of about 15 years old and are all diesel fueled.

Murphy said she hopes the new buses will join the fleet by 2014.

In other district business, school officials announced they will have preschool classes at a new building in the fall as part of the new Austintown Early Learning Center, formerly Lynn Kirk Elementary School. The preschool is moving from the Leonard Kirtz School.

The district’s special education director said there will be four classes each with up to 16 students taught in the morning and afternoon sessions.

Austintown’s preschool program works in partnership with the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.

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