Right now, there are more than 480,000 gas-powered school buses that are in regular use in every school district, every weekday all throughout the school year across the country. When added together, the waste from school buses totals to more than 5 million tons of carbon emissions.

The Infrastructure Jobs Act allocated federal funding for electric buses. Over the next five years, starting 2022, the law allocates $5 billion towards the purchase of electric buses in school districts all across America. Miami Dade’s school district has applied for funding and will most likely receive it in 2023.

Miami-Dade’s school district is the fourth largest in the nation, so what they do has a national impact. It serves over 350,000 students from nearly 400 schools.

School board member Luisa Santos described how hard a student that came to talk with the school board, Holly, worked to bring information the meeting, “she conducted science experiments. She told us about the correlation between clean air and student academic outcomes and student health outcomes. She told us that pollution inside the bus exceeds outside the bus. She told us about the known carcinogens that our students are breathing in.”

Santos said Holly reminded her of what she must do to effectively to fight climate change.

In 2021, Santos introduced a resolution that “acknowledges the urgency of needing 100 percent clean energy use by 2030 for better student health and financially responsible stewardship.” The resolution was passed unanimously. As a result, a clean energy task force was established and the role of Chief Sustainability Officer at Miami Public Schools was created.