Rising diesel prices pinch local school districts

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX 19) -- Fairfield bus driver Dave Henry sure is glad the price to pump 32 gallons of diesel fuel into his bus, isn't coming out of his own pocket.

"It'll go up and then go back down two, three pennies, then it will go up again beyond that," Henry said. "It's about the tops that I've seen it in 15 years."

While many school districts like Fairfield pay just a fraction of what we pay at the pump, because they don't pay federal taxes, even a one cent increase can adds up to thousands of dollars.

"We go through about 1100 gallons of diesel fuel a day, we fill up that tank about every 11 days, last year we spent just over $400,000 on diesel fuel and this year we're going to spend even more ,"  said district spokesman Randy Oppenheimer.

The district buys diesel fuel in bulk, purchasing 7500 gallons at a time, three weeks ago they paid $2.87 a gallon, and today they're paying $3.16 a gallon, if you do they math that's an increase of $2,175 in just three weeks.

"Any increase when you're buying 7500 gallons at a time, really hits the budget," Oppenheimer said.

Oppenheimer says while the district has already cut busing for grades 10 through 12 next year, the budget for fuel is a factor that they can only control to a certain point.

"You've got to put that bus on the road and it's got to have fuel to run, so your ability to cut costs is somewhat limited there," Oppenheimer said.

The district has avoided reducing busing to state minimums.

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