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Despite losing out in a federal government funding lottery, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is not dropping efforts to obtain electric school buses.

District 65 was among the roughly 1,600 school systems nationwide that were were not picked at random in a recent round of funding applications.

The number of applicants far outweighed the $965,000,000 available in the Clean School Bus grant program.

Nationwide 391 school districts were chosen, 16 in Illinois. None were in Cook County.

District 65 had requested $1.1 million to purchase four electric-powered buses.

District spokesperson Melissa Messinger tells Evanston Now, “While we’re disappointed to not have been selected in the latest round of funding, we believe strongly in continuing to pursue this environmental initiative in accordance with our sustainability commitments.”

Messinger adds that the transition from diesel to electric will have a “positive impact on our community overall,” so the district will keep looking for potential funding sources and grants.

District 65 has previously received a separate electric bus grant from the State of Illinois. The district partnered with Northwestern University and bus contract provider Compass Transportation in the application, and was awarded $230,000 to upgrade an existing diesel bus to electric power.

That bus will be used in the district’s Head Start program.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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