Maranacook & Bangor Adult Ed. Programs Partner to Offer FREE School Bus Driver Training

Regional School Unit (RSU) 38 and Bangor Adult Education Programs are offering commercial driver license (CDL) classes this September, November, and January free of charge for eligible students. The project aims to help fill a critical workforce need across Maine for school bus drivers. While there are 10 free spots available per month, September is almost full and they are actively recruiting for November 2021 and January 2022.

The project was initiated by Bangor Adult Education director Greg Leavitt and grew into a partnership with RSU 38 Adult Education Program Director Steve Vose. They are able to offer the free classes using funds from a workforce innovation grant through the Maine Department of Education’s Adult Education Team.

“This is an ‘innovative’ workforce grant so let’s innovate,” said Vose who has spent a lot of time over the past couple months recruiting, getting participants ready to start the class this month, while also planning and recruiting for November and January, and adapting the program to be responsive to the needs of prospective participants. He is setting up reading tutors, if needed, to help students have success both during and after course completion. They are also exploring ways to pay students a working wage while they take the class – this would enable students to sign on without worrying about taking a month off work.

“If we continue to do the same old things, we are going to continue to get the same old results,” added Vose.

The CDL (Class B) class prepares students to meet the Maine BMV Class B school bus driving requirements and consists of 42 hours of classroom instruction to prepare students for the state written and skills exam and 30 hours of driving instruction to prepare students for the state road test.

The classes will take place at 75 North Road in Readfield, with driving time arranged individually with students. Tentative November class dates are, Nov. 4 – Dec. 18 on Thursdays from 6:00pm – 9:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am – 2:30pm. January dates are yet to be determined.

For more information or if students are interested, contact Steve Vose at steve_vose@maranacook.com or call 207-242-8795.

This story is part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or share good news, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.

 

2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants Available for Tribal and Insular Area Government Agencies

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Transportation and Air Quality is soliciting applications for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions. Eligible entities include tribal governments (or intertribal consortia) and Alaska Native villages, and insular area government agencies, which have jurisdiction over transportation or air quality.A total of approximately $4.5 million will be made available to tribal governments (or intertribal consortia) and Alaska Native villages, and approximately $500,000 will be made available to insular area governments.Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment may include buses.

EPA’s ten regional offices will manage the awards. The number and size of cooperative agreements made under this announcement, and the amounts for the two categories identified above, are subject to the availability of funds, the quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations.

Please visit https://www.epa.gov/dera/tribal for questions and answers and additional details about the following information sessions:

Funding Opportunity Information Sessions
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (ET)

For more information view: 2021 Dera Tribal Insular Area Grants (PDF)(86 pp, 2 MB) or contact the EPA to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem.

Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA): 2021 Request for Grant Applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is excited to announce the availability of approximately $46 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 70 awards are anticipated.

Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, or port authorities, with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

Visit the DERA National Grants Web Page for Application and Eligibility Information

Informational Webinars: Request for Applications 2021 DERA National Grants

Tuesday, January 26, 2021; 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 863 530 573#

Wednesday, February 3, 2021; 3:00-4:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 609 539 899#

Thursday, February 11, 2021; 2:00-3:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 451 189 144#

Webinar Highlights:

  • Program Details
  • Changes This Year
  • Eligible Entities, Projects, Vehicles, Engines & Equipment
  • Funding: Availability, Project Funding Percentage, Restrictions
  • Proposal Submission
  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Potential Pitfalls
  • Tools, Resources and Support
  • Question & Answer Period

Visit the DERA National Grants Web Page for Application and Eligibility Information

If you have questions, please contact DERA@epa.gov.

School Bus Purchase Program Applications Open Nov. 1st to 25th

The Maine Department of Education is accepting applications to receive subsidy for new school buses purchased through the School Bus Purchase Program.  The application period is November 1 through November 25, 2020.

The Department will be able to approve about $9 million in school bus allocations that combines new bus requests and the prior year bus term commitment.  Round one applications will be accepted for school buses proposed to be purchased during fiscal year 2021-2022.  This program provides subsidy to school administrative units (SAUs) in order to offset partial costs of new school buses that are used to transport students to and from home and school and school events.  This program is a resource to help SAUs purchase new school buses, retire end of life school buses, and respond to emergency and special bus needs.  Eligible vehicles must meet Code of Maine Regulations Chapter 85 minimum qualifications, with the exception of Section 3.1.

The School Bus Purchase Program instructions and information are available on the Maine DOE’s NEO dashboard. To fill out an application, you must log in to NEO.  For more information or technical assistance, please contact Pat Hinckley at 207-624-6886 or email pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

Students, Parents, and Schools Celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Week Oct. 19-23

Nationally, while school buses are the gold standard of safety and considered the Titans of Transportation, school bus drivers are the heroes of safety that go above and beyond the call of duty as they deliver the most precious cargo – our students.

Locally, parents, students, teachers, and superintendents celebrate National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by showing appreciation for school bus drivers that build local community, make special deliveries, arrive in early hours, help students in need, focus on safety, and more.  School staff and parents make special cards, deliver special snacks, talk with drivers about how much their commitment to student safety means to families, schools, and the community, and learn about a day in the life of a school bus driver. School district transportation directors celebrate National School Bus Driver Appreciation Week by providing driver safety training at the district. This is a time for celebrating school bus drivers.

Historically, Maine schools celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Week during National School Bus Safety Week which occurs annually during the third week in October. It is a time for Mainers to reflect upon the outstanding job performance of our school bus drivers who transport students to and from school and school related events throughout the year traveling over 30 million miles of urban and rural roads. In Maine about 80 percent of students ride the school bus which is much higher than the national average of 50 percent.

We welcome you to share stories about your Maine school bus driver heroes of safety on the Maine DOE social media on Facebook @MaineDepartmentofEducation1 and/or Twitter @mdoenews.  Here are some historic examples of Maine school bus driver heroes of safety:

School bus drivers receive extensive driver and safety training to provide the essential service of school transportation. They are responsible for conserving the comfort, safety, and welfare of students they transport. Should a critical incident occur that requires student relocation, school bus drivers will be called on to deliver students to a safe haven.

For information about school transportation policy contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

For information about how to become a school bus driver contact the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT) http://www.maptme.org/