School districts feel the pain at the pump

(FOX 19) - As the price of gasoline and diesel continues to rise, many school districts in the tri-state are having a hard time keeping up with the cost.

Clermont Northeastern School District budgets for its gas every year, but Southwest Local School District does not set a budget, instead it pays as it goes, making it difficult to save any money.

"It's an expensive, expensive cost," says Mike Schweinfest, Director of Business and Transportation for Southwest Local. Schweinfest says budgeting is possible because gas prices fluctuate so much.

And with the district already hurting for money and having to slash the budget, there are lots of options on the table to cut in order to save money.

"We are looking at possibly eliminating high school busing, we are looking at maybe going out two miles, which you are allowed to by law before you have to pick up grades one through eight. We're looking at less field trips, less time on those field trips," says Schweinfest.

The average school bus gets about eight miles to the gallon, not an ideal mileage when drivers for Southwest travel 1,000 miles a day.

Clermont Northeastern school buses travel nearly 2,500 miles a day and unlike Southwest Local the district does budget for its gas. For the 2010-2011 school year, the district budgeted 110,000 dollars. But with diesel nearing four dollars at the pump, the district is now 62,000 dollars over budget.

"We're looking at consolidating down routes so we have less buses on the road therefore using less gas," says Brian Switzer.

Clermont Northeastern is planning on a 20-25 percent increase for next school year's gas budget taking money away from other departments.

"Less money for instructional supplies, less money for educational materials. You have to keep operations going, the kids getting here, the buildings warm, so we'll have to cut in other areas," says Switzer.

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