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County Considers Major Changes To School Schedule Because Of Gas Prices

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HENDERSON, N,C. — In the face of rising gasoline prices, Vance County may consider drastic changes to its school schedule unless state reimbursement money arrives soon.

"Catastrophic," Norm Shearin, superintendent of the Vance County schools, said of the gas prices. "We've tripled our price since August."

The price of diesel has risen from $1.05 a gallon to $3.05 a gallon since then, he said.

"We're spending approximately $2,600 a day just on gasoline," Shearin said.

Shearin said based on state laws, the state should be responsible for school transportation costs. But because of state budget cuts, Vance and other county school systems are fueling the buses with local money.

Now, the local money is running out, Shearin said.

That could force some drastic changes in the school day, "which may be as extensive as a waiver on the 180 days and run longer school days for four days a week," Shearin said.

Vance County already has canceled field trips.

Shearin added that athletic events will continue and students will be encouraged to carpool.

"But if the cheerleaders want to go, they are going to have to ride the same bus," he said.

Packing more students in buses and juggling routes may be other options while local school systems wait for reimbursement money from the state or for the gasoline prices to go down, Shearin said.

The issue will be taken up by the Vance County Board of Education on Monday night.


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