The Wheaton R-III School District has received funding through the Missouri DNR (Department of Natural Resources) Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust School Bus Replacement Program, on Thursday, September 22. This is the fourth time the district has been awarded funds through the program.
In 2016, the United States settled complaints against Volkswagen to resolve claims that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling approximately 590,000 vehicles with 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel engines having emissions defeat devices.
The settlement consisted of multiple agreements and required Volkswagen to take certain actions, such as paying $2.9 billion to a national environmental mitigation trust fund. Beneﬁciaries to the trust must use their shares to fund speciﬁc projects that reduce emissions to NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) from mobile sources.
The State of Missouri is a beneﬁciary of the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust with MoDNR as the state's lead distribution agency. The Department developed a 10-year plan or awarding the $41,152,051.74 in proceeds to Missouri speciﬁc projects with approximately $12 million to be awarded to replace school buses in the state.
Eighty-nine school districts in Missouri received funding towards school buses or ﬁscal year 2022 through the trust program with Wheaton R-III being the only district in Barry County, receiving $22,500.00 towards the total cost of $99,924.00. The remainder of the funds were ﬁnanced through Security Bank o Southwest Missouri.
According to Dr. Trish Wilson, Superintendent of Wheaton R-III Schools, to receive funding through the trust program towards the new school bus, the district must surrender a bus that falls under the guidelines of the trust and send veriﬁcation the engine block was destroyed to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.