Division denied bus grant

Published 1:35 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Eligibility has been denied for a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) that would have provided funds for the division to purchase two new school buses.

The reasoning for the grant denial, according to Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) Acting Executive Director Melody Foster, is the division’s current buses have no usable life left.

The CRC submitted the grant application on behalf of LCPS.

Foster said during the Sept. 7 monthly CRC meeting, according to the EPA, when the agency provides the grants to a school division, the school can’t sell the buses it currently uses and can’t allow for the buses to be used in any other way.

“If you’ve got a good administrator running your school system, that guy is going to take the oldest, worst buses and circulate those out. And hopefully you can do that,” said Brown’s Store Interim Supervisor Mike Hankins. “Those don’t apply. If he’s got a good school bus that he got a couple of years ago and it’s new then you can get a grant to replace that good, new school bus.”

CRC Vice-Chairman and Buckingham County District Four Supervisor Morgan Dunnavant described the application that’s set up as “completely stupid and backwards to a way public funds are supposed to be tended and spent out.”

Dunnavant detailed his own issues with grant money.

“It’s money that’s taken from the taxpayers, it’s not specifically earmarked when it’s taken and it’s put in these pools to be given back out on a competitive basis. But that’s the way the money comes so we’ve got to play that game,” Dunnavant said. “But this, this is something, you know, operations and logistics like this is something that the public needs to know about so point blank they can raise hell about it.”

Hankins said the grant is designed for a school system “that’s got too much money and a school administrator that is a poor manager.

“If you need your money and you’ve got a good school administrator, then the way it should work, they’ll never get any money from this particular grant,” Hankins said.

CRC Community and Development Planner Todd Fortune said the CRC has suggested to the Lunenburg school board to request a debriefing to get more information regarding the grant to see if the division can get a more favorable outcome.