Gas Prices Impact School Districts

March 6, 2008 8:34:05 PM PST
The soaring diesel prices are making things difficult for local school districts to keep buses running every day. Everyday thousands of students in the Valley hop into buses to get to class. In the last two years the cost to fuel these yellow tanks in the Fresno Unified School District has increased 63% or one-million dollars.

Ruth Quinto,Associate Superintendent FUSD: "To have our fuel cost increase to that extent certainly requires a deliberate reprioritization of our resources."

Associate Superintendent Ruth Quinto stresses the cost to educate students has not been affected. Quinto does warn however some administration positions could be cut or future plans for development and upgrades in classrooms such as a computer lab may be delayed.

"Where we would like to do all the computer room upgrades next year and instead we might only be able to do 30% of them."

Officials with the Fresno Unified School District say current gas prices won't affect education in the classroom. However one parent we spoke with said if gas prices continue to rise, like they're slated to do, that the school district might have to cut back on extracurricular activities.

Stephen Ogbuehi, Parent: "It will affect the kids sporting activities, which is no good for them."

Dolores Torres, Parent: "Football, basketball, baseball, it's going on now. Swimming, water polo."

Other valley school districts have taken steps to deal will soaring fuel costs. Some are starting to trade out their old diesel buses in favor of new buses that run on less expensive compressed natural gas.

Districts such as Visalia and Clovis have replaced a 1/3 of their fleet and Central Unified plans on adding eight buses this spring. Currently only 10% of Fresno Unified buses run on natural gas but the district plans to add more.

"To every extent possible we will make adjustments in other places so programs to kids not only can be maintained but can be enhanced."


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