Local News

Wake Schools Fuel Budget Running on Fumes

Posted November 18, 2007
Updated November 20, 2007

— Wake County school system officials have been looking for more fuel money to keep their buses on the road.

School administrators said they couldn’t have predicted the increases at the pump. The higher cost has made their fuel budget millions of dollars short.

When the school board meets Tuesday, it will have to sign off on more money to keep the buses going. Board members are considering using money from the district's $15 million reserve fund.

Wake County's 864 school buses travel 15 million miles a year – enough to go cross the country and come back 2,500 times. Each year, school administrators must estimate how much fuel money that will take. This year, the amount budgeted missed the bus.

Don Haydon, the district's chief facilities and operations officer, said the rise in diesel fuel prices caught them by surprise.

“Back when we developed the budget, we were paying $1.97 per gallon," Haydon said. "We don't know where prices are going to go from now on, but it was prudent to increase the budget now."

Now, the bulk rate the school system pays is $2.73 a gallon. That’s a increase of 76 cents a gallon, and it adds up to a $2.2 million shortfall overall.

Another reason the fuel budget is off, according to Haydon, is because buses are running extra routes delivering students whose parents opted for traditional school calendars over year-round calendars.

School board members must decide whether to provide the extra money for the fuel budget. Board member Horace Tart said it doesn't look like there is much of a choice.

“We have to travel those miles and get those children from home to school and back home,” he said.

School officials have asked the board to pull $2.2 million from the reserve fund.

"That fund balance, of course, is for the purpose of one-time expenses that are not anticipated," Tart said, noting several million dollars already been used from the fund for basic school operations because the county didn't meet the school board's budget request.


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  • GodBless Nov 21, 2007

    Why not charge to ride the bus? Buy a yearly pass. The kids that drive have to pay a fee to just park their cars at school. PLUS - they pay for the gas.

  • 68_polara Nov 20, 2007

    I really like'm they make great demolition derby cars.

  • Nancy Nov 20, 2007

    68_polara - yup, I'm that old, late 60's early 70's station wagons :)

  • KevInApex Nov 20, 2007

    SUVs or not America must find an alternative to oil to fuel its economy if we are going to maintain our lifestyle. Conservation is the first step in this effort but despite higher fuel prices it isn't happening.

    Also, wasn't the lottery supposed to cover all of our education costs?

  • 68_polara Nov 20, 2007

    Well Nacy... it depends, the last of the caprices and crown vics equipped with over drive from the late 80's and early nineties weren't bad. Your right if your talking 60's and 70's though, three speed tranys with high compression engines in fuselages built like a sherman tank were horrible gas gusselers.

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Nov 20, 2007

    The Church and Bible is what this coutry needs. Christmas is about Christ. What would Jesus do about fuel. His SUV was a full blown Donkey.

    Whats in your wallet?

    Praise the lord......
    Rev J. Jackson

  • casp3r Nov 20, 2007

    cperry19992= Stop whining like a little kid.

  • Nancy Nov 20, 2007

    68_polara - I agree on the stability issue of vans vs station wagons of days gone by. I drove both, a station wagon (Mom's) when I was a teen and a minivan as I became a Mom. But indeed, the gas mileage of minivans is much better than those old station wagons.

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Nov 20, 2007

    This country and taxes will soon be all mind and spirit. Amen to the president.

    Rev Jessie Jackson

  • Adelinthe Nov 20, 2007

    Aren't we all.

    Praying for us.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB