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August 3, 2023

On August 3, 2023, the School Board of Glades County, Florida (District), pursuant to Section 287.057(3), Florida Statutes, determined that procurement of electric school bus services as described in this Notice of Decision can be made only from a single source, and that the District should enter into a written agreement to procure such services, as further described in this Notice.

The sole source determination of the District School Board is subject to protest in accordance District Policy PO 6326, F.S. 120.57(3), and the Uniform Rules of F.A.C. Chapters 28-106 and -110. Any person adversely affected by the District sole source decision, or intended TESA award, can protest by first filing a notice of protest within 72 hours after the date this Notice of Decision is first published on the District website. In addition to a notice of protest, a formal written protest must also be filed within 10 days after the date this Notice of Decision is first published on the District website. Any notice of Protest or formal written protest must be filed in writing and delivered within the prescribed time period to: School District of Glades County, 400 10th Street, P.O. Box 459, Moore Haven, Florida 33471; or

Failure to file a protest within the time prescribed in F.S. 120.57(3), shall constitute a waiver of proceedings under F.S. Chapter 120.

Detailed Description of Product and/or Services:

Electric Vehicle and Charging-as-a-service (VaaS) involving provision to the District over a 15-year “Term” of:

• thirteen (13), type C electric, zero-emission, school buses (ESBs),
• thirteen (13) DC fast charging stations and related infrastructure installed on a District site (EVSE; ESBs and EVSE, collectively, the System),
• charging energy for the ESBs,
• guarantee that each ESB will be charged sufficiently to operate on its designated student transportation route at the start of each school day;
• reimbursement of District ESB maintenance costs;
• license to an electric fleet management and charging platform (Platform), and
• Fleet electrification training for District employees (drivers, mechanics, managers),
for an annual VaaS price: $15,000.00 per ESB, escalating 3% annually, under the terms of a written Transportation Equipment Services Agreement (TESA) between the District and HEF-P Glades, LLC (Highland).

Under the TESA, Highland would own the System, and funds awarded under the Clean School Bus 2022 Rebate Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be paid to support purchase of the ESBs and purchase and installation of the EVSE. At the end of the 15-year Term, the District would have the option to purchase the System for its fair market value, or, subject to any mutually agreed Term extension, Highland would remove the System from the District property.

Sole Source Justification:

The awarded EPA rebate funds are insufficient to purchase thirteen (13) ESBs at the prices available under the Florida state contract for school buses. In the absence of the Highland VaaS offering, the District could not deploy thirteen (13) ESBs or receive the benefit of the EPA rebate funds without up-front, capital expense by the District; and the District lacks sufficient budget to support such capital expense at this time. The District has not found any fleet electrification provider, other than Highland, that can provide the capital required to purchase and deploy thirteen (13) ESBs.

Under its VaaS offering, Highland assumes risk for energy price fluctuations, EVSE malfunction, and the costs of most ESB repairs. As a result, the costs to the District to operate ESBs are substantially predictable and manageable. This allows the District to plan for the cost of ESB operations, without risk to its operating budget for energy cost spikes or unplanned EVSE or ESB repairs. The District has not found any fleet electrification provider, other than Highland, that offers charging electricity, EVSE repair, and ESB repair reimbursement for an agreed annual per-Vehicle cost.

As part of its VaaS offering, Highland guarantees that the ESBs will be charged sufficiently for their regular routes and assumes substantial technological and operational risk for the System. Highland is the preeminent provider of turnkey vehicle electrification services, now operating more electrification as a service projects in the United States and Canada than any other provider. The District has no experience (yet) in operating ESBs and cannot gain that experience in time to satisfy the October 2024 operational requirements under the EPA’s clean school bus rebate. Partnering with Highland , an experienced service provider, to assure that the ESBs operate as intended.

Pending approval from EPA.

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