High fuel prices force schools to adjust budget
by Hawkins Teague
Jun 11, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While soaring gasoline prices may be making summer vacations a tough prospect for many families, the problem is even more pronounced for those that must buy well over 5,000 gallons every month. This is the problem the Trigg County school system is facing as it puts its budget together for the coming school year.

During the Trigg County Board of Education’s May 22, Superintendent Tim McGinnis presented a tentative budget that reserved $175,000 for fuel costs. During the meeting, he said the amount was “not adequate,” and is already saying that the number will be adjusted before the board approves the working budget. He told the Cadiz Record that the board would probably need to add between at least $50,000 to the $175,000 already discussed. He said this would reduce its contingency budget, which had been $742,908 when the tentative budget was proposed at the meeting. That amount was 5.2 percent of the total budget. State law requires that districts keep a contingency budget of at least two percent.

McGinnis said that most of the bus fuel used by the district is purchased from suppliers, but that between 5,000 and 6,000 gallons are purchased while buses are taking students on field trips.

“In the scope of things, (fuel purchased on the road is) not that much,” McGinnis said.

Between July 30, 2007 and May 7, 2008, the district purchased fuel nine times from Max Arnold & Sons, LLC, four times from Midwest Fuel Injection and once from Seay Oil. When looking at the chart of the 14 purchases during that period, one is reminded how little fuel cost a year ago compared to the $4-a-gallon it is today. When the district purchased fuel last July 30, diesel sold for $2.37, rounded to the nearest cent. When it bought diesel on May 7 of this year, the cost was close to $3.80. As of May 7, the district had purchased 53,924 gallons during the fiscal year, at a cost of $161,583.29.

McGinnis said that when gas was $3.75 a gallon, he and Transportation Director Mark Harris calculated the cost of gas for all the buses for 177 school days. The buses drive an average of 288 gallons a day and 48,756 miles throughout the year. The total cost was $182,835, McGinnis said. With gas now up to $4, it would be even more.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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