NKSD considering EPA electric bus grant program

District also looking to rezone Island Lake property

The North Kitsap School District is considering applying for an Environmental Protection Agency electric bus grant with the cost being reimbursed by the grant and $20,000 per bus for charging infrastructure.

The application is due Aug. 16. The NKSD bus fleet has 16 Internal Combustion Engines buses that would be available for replacement by the grant, school documents say. The district recently received a Department of Ecology grant and will be reimbursed for the difference in cost between an electric bus and an ICE bus, plus an additional $50,000 per bus for charging infrastructure installation for three buses.

NKSD leadership in transportation, capital projects, facilities and business, with the support of BCE Engineers, have been vetting the viability of applying for the EPA grant. The financial aspects of the grant need to be considered in two ways, documents say.

The first deals with Transportation Vehicle Fund revenue. The TVF is used to purchase or conduct significant repairs to buses. The revenue for the TVF is received from the state based on the depreciation schedule payments of the newer buses in the fleet.

“Suppose NKSD was successful in getting the EPA grant and receiving free buses,” documents read. “In that case, the depreciation schedule payments will be higher based on the higher cost of the electric buses. Currently, electric buses are approximately twice as expensive. These higher depreciation payments will help make the future replacement of these electric buses financially sustainable. If NKSD were awarded the grant, the entire fleet would earn depreciation payments, while the older, most polluting buses would be scrapped.”

The second financial aspect of electric buses is the cost of operations vs. ICE buses. The operational costs are estimated to be approximately 18 cents per mile less than an ICE bus, per documents. That would result in expected savings to the general fund of roughly $5,000 per year.

The value of the EPA grant would be slightly over $5 million. The additional infrastructure cost is expected to be approximately $1.8 million.

NKSD is also looking to rezone its Island Lake property and is preparing an application to Kitsap County to have the property included in the Silverdale Urban Growth Area, intending to surplus the property for sale and future development.

According to documents, the property is on the southern edge of the school district’s boundary. It is also adjacent to the Silverdale UGA. As the state Growth Management Act requires, the county will soon review applications for changes related to the 2024 Comprehensive Plan.

The property is 29.36 acres of undeveloped land and is zoned rural residential. It has issues with access and easement related to Lone Maple Lane NW, per documents. The property was appraised in 2019 for $560,000. In the hypothetical condition that the property was rezoned to urban low, the appraisal would be $1.8 million to $2.4 million based on the 2019 appraisal.

Only two-thirds of the property would likely be developable. The developability of the property has not been analyzed but would likely change the value of the property.