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Editorial: Bus project example of Cummins’ involvement

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A Cummins project to improve fuel efficiency in school buses has a direct benefit

to Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., but it also has a broader importance.

Having a company that is so deeply involved and invested in the community is a tremendous benefit and one that not every city enjoys.

Bartholomew Consolidated spends more than $640,000 per year on fuel for its fleet of about 100 buses that cover its school routes. That’s a significant expense in the school district’s budget, and one it’s always trying to minimize.

Fortunately, longstanding ties with Cummins — whose diesel engines have powered Bartholomew Consolidated buses since 1972 — provided an opportunity for the engine maker to lend a hand. School board president Jeff Caldwell, also president and executive director — pickups/SUVs for Cummins, seized an opportunity to help and sponsored a Cummins Community Involvement Six Sigma project beginning in 2010.

A Cummins team focused on optimization of the power train to increase school-bus fuel efficiency. The results of that research are recommended changes that could save the local school district more than $45,000 each year — and up to $60,000 annually — if the existing fleet is upgraded and new bus purchase specifications are modified.

That should be pleasing news for local taxpayers, because the savings could be redirected to student learning.

Taxpayers and educators in other communities also could be rejoicing in the future because Cummins wants to share its results with other school systems across the country. That could generate millions of dollars in savings and would be an opportunity for other school districts to see the benefit of an active community partner such as Cummins.

In the past year, Cummins employees organized the flow of merchandise for the nonprofit Sans Souci, hosted a community recycling event and organized the first Mill Race Marathon, among many local community-improvement projects.

The bus fuel-efficiency project is another reminder of how our community benefits from the active role Cummins and its employees take in it.

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