Gas Prices Affect School System

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

September 13, 2005

In the wake of Katrina, gas prices across the region are at an all-time high. This has affected many areas already, and your child's school could be another one.

The roaring engines of buses means students are off to school. But that travel is costing area school systems a lot more.

"If the costs stays the way it was then we would go over by about $35,000 in the transportation department [budget] even using the $100,000 reserve," said Diane Behrens with Albemarle County Schools.

When the budget was approved last year, the school system accounted for $1.50 a gallon for fuel costs. Even with a substantial discount, that number is nearing $2 a gallon. The budget will be stretched far past the reserve.

The Albemarle County School system estimates they drive nearly 12,000 miles a day with their buses. With high gasoline prices, something has got to give.

If need be, the system will shuffle money around to account for the budget shortfall. Besides minor changes, Behrens says the students and faculty should see no signs of the rising fuel costs

"I don't believe they will see any negative effect of our conservation efforts," Behrens said.

For right now, the school district is keeping an eye on the rising costs. They have not implemented any mandatory restrictions, however they are asking for cooperation from within.

"Let's be a little more conservative with everything that we're using because all of these prices increase when fuel increases," said Behrens.

All would be a moot point if prices continue to fall.

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