The Lee’s Summit R-7 Business Roundtable took a “field trip” Nov. 1 for a first-hand look at an innovative project that saves taxpayer dollars, benefits the environment and generates funds for technology infrastructure at all district schools.
The Business Roundtable formed approximately two years ago and includes business leaders from throughout the Lee’s Summit R-7 community.
The group heard a brief presentation about R-7 lease-purchase initiatives including transition to school buses and service vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, purchase of a storage building and property for additional parking near the current R-7 Transportation Center and construction of a public CNG Clean Energy fill station, located at 500 Transport Drive.
Total savings for the 10-year lease-purchase initiatives is estimated at $28.3 million with a portion of the savings also funding technology infrastructure and equipment that will help R-7 students succeed.
During the Business Roundtable meeting, business leaders rode a CNG-powered school bus to the Transportation Center. The CNG buses are much quieter and cleaner than the traditional diesel-powered buses in addition to being less expensive to operate in terms of fuel costs.
By December, the R-7 School District will have 80 new CNG-powered buses with a total of 26 smaller buses arriving by the end of the school year.
It will take approximately three years to transition the district’s 149-bus fleet, which transports approximately 13,000 students each day and travels more than 2 million miles annually.