Goshen BOE works to manage electric bus cost

Goshen. Special needs advocate requests more assurance from school district.

Goshen /
| 28 Dec 2023 | 03:40

At the December 18 Goshen Central School District Board of Education meeting, members discussed a number of pertinent topics that could affect students, parents, and community members. Among the issues noted were the district’s handling of special needs students and the cost, and logistical concerns, of the state-mandated electric school bus initiative.

Goshen Special Education Parent Teacher Student Association (SEPTSA) President Sarah White spoke on the issue of special education within the district.

White had previously requested for the board to consider a focus group or advisory panel to discuss the issues concerning special needs students, to which the school superintendent offered a one-on-one session with White to discuss matters.

She once again implored the BOE to consider taking steps to reassure special needs students, their parents, and the staff that the district will provide the necessary outreach for such students. White went on to add that she is the mother of a child with special needs, and is approaching this request from a place of understanding and empathy. She noted that many teachers, faculty members, and staffers have done an outstanding job caring for her son.

However, White also claimed that the board had not yet moved forward with an outreach program that she feels would be a worthwhile, and necessary, step in supporting a faction of the community that could deeply benefit from a show of inclusivity. White finally added that morale and support matter, and that it is incumbent upon the board to make decisions that behoove diverse members of the community, and provide the proper free education to all students.

Electric buses

On the matter of Governor Hochul’s electric school bus initiative, the board spoke publicly about a number of grants which could provide some financial support to the district while they make the costly transition.

Each electric bus is expected to run the district close to $330,000. The Goshen School District currently uses 97 buses to transport their students. The board discussed two particular grants that could be used to mitigate the cost of the project, which at this time includes both the buses themselves, and a reworking of the electrical grid at the school bus depot in order to add a number of electric vehicle charging stations.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda) offers one such grant, while the other would come from the EPA. The grants are expected to lower the overall cost of each bus, with charger included, to around $214,000.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct Sarah White’s last name, and the name of the organization, as well as her characterization of the school’s care of special needs students.