High Gas Prices Are Having An Effect on Schools

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

While the Washoe County school district has been dealing all summer with a bus driver shortage, it now has to factor in the cost of diesel fuel for the upcoming school year.
The price per gallon has jumped 45-cents since the final budget was approved this past June.
Donn Dalton, the Fleet Maintenance Coordinator for the courty says "If the price continues when we start the school year. By the time we reach November I may have to go up and ask for more funding to keep the fleet going."
The tranportation department has 800-thousand dollars it can spend on fuel this year. That's for the entire fleet of 305 buses. These buses take students to and from athletic events, they're used for field trips, but the school district also uses charter buses for longer trips.
Craig Falconer, the Assistant Transportation Director, says "all those companies have had to raise their rates in the way of the fuel surcharge because they're paying a lot for diesel as well." Falconer says these outside bus companies have had to charge 5 to 10 percent more to take students to and from school.
So, the school district is looking at possibly raising the 25-dollar student fee to play sports, or raising the flat rate it charges schools for field trips to compensate. Transportation officials say it costs roughly a dollar-seventy a mile to run each bus...that's including fuel.
When diesel was a dollar-39-cents a gallon last June, the department went nearly 300-thousand dollars over budget. At 2-dollars-and-55 cents, today they say something has to give, so they don't go that much over budget again.


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