Grace MacDonald has one last thing to accomplish before she graduates from Roseville Area High School next week. She wants to persuade the Roseville School Board apply for a federal grant to bring an electric school bus to the district.

MacDonald and members of the Roseville Area High School Students for Climate Action have been pressing for the board to take that action all year, and on Tuesday will make another appeal when they show up to the Aŋpétu Téča Education Center dressed in green and wearing stickers that read "The Future is Electric" to speak.

"There is money out there," said MacDonald.

MacDonald is referring to the $5 billion the Biden administration has made available to school districts to buy electric school buses and charging equipment through the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean School Bus Program. The agency has about $1 billion a year to distribute over five years, ending in 2026.

MacDonald joined the all-student group that meets weekly before school after she saw a walkout by students concerned about climate change. The college-bound senior said she grew up going camping with her family and fell in love with the outdoors.

"The fear of that all going away was terrifying," she said in an interview this week. "I have always been interested in sustainability. I want to make a real change and that excited me."

The student group has lobbied the school board for the past two years, MacDonald said, but has not gotten much response. This year the group teamed with the environmental nonprofit MN350 and has stayed resolute in its desire to see the district apply for an electric school bus grant or switch to another bus company that will. Roseville contracts with Centerline Charter Corp.

Calls and emails to the school board chair and district office seeking comment had not been returned.

Students for Climate Action says buying an electric school bus will improve student health and align with the district's resolution to become a Green Step School, a voluntary program in which schools or districts pledge to reduce their environmental impact and costs.

"Electric school buses use cleaner energy and are more sustainable," MacDonald said.

Earlier this year, Minneapolis Public Schools debuted two electric buses it bought using the federal grants.

In 2020, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency launched a pilot to try electric school buses in Minnesota. Over the past few years, 10 buses powered exclusively by electricity have been put in service, and 22 more are on the way.

"We know it can be done, and here at our high school," MacDonald said.