ALMA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Alma School District is in the process of getting electric buses for its fleet. They’ll become one of the first in the state to do so. This was all possible through a $3,000,000 grant awarded by the ADEQ Advanced Bus and Clean Transportation program.

Due to this funding, the district will be replacing 8 old buses with 8 new electric buses for the 2023-2024 school year. The transportation director for the Alma School District, Jason Rutherford, said each bus will be air-conditioned, unlike the average school bus.

He said the electric buses will be cheaper, quieter and safer for students. The old buses put out pollutants in the air, which can be harmful to students.

“Especially as they’re standing idle and at the lines at the school. That’s not going to be an issue. These are zero emissions. So, we’re going to be much healthier for our students,” said Rutherford.

According to Rutherford, some districts in the state are in the same stage of the process to acquire electric vehicles. He hopes more districts will start considering them and even come check out how Alma handles the new technology.

According to the district’s newsletter, on a full battery, the electric buses can travel 138 miles a day. The longest route in the district is about 77 miles. The district expects to get the buses in early August.

OG&E will be handling the construction of the electric charging stations at the bus garage.