High Fuel Costs Cause School Buses To Scale Back Their Routes
With the first day of school just weeks away, bus routes for magnet school students will be scaled back in Alachua county.
In her six years in school transportation, Cassie White, a bus driver and trainer, says it distresses her what economizing on fuel will mean for students who rely on the bus for their ride to school.
"We cater to the children, and we're hating we can't cater to them as much as we really want to," said White.
Many bus stops for the more than 2000 students in magnet programs will be eliminated to make up for the high cost of diesel. Director of Transportation Dr. Harrell Harrison says there are few options for meeting transportation demands and cutting costs.
"The only way that we can do that is reduce the number of miles that we travel," said Harrison.
On average, he says buses travel 600,000 miles a year. He says he hopes streamlining bus routes will save 100,000 miles, which will mean less wear and tear on the buses and more saving on fuel.
With gas prices nearly doubled from last year, front-door service for students in the far reaches of Alachua County will now be a thing of the past.
Last year, the district budgeted 1.4 million dollars for fuel. They went over by half a million dollars. Despite tax breaks, and buying in bulk the cost has gone up from $2.27 a gallon in July 2007, to $4.36 this June. This year's budget is 2.1 million dollars.
"A lot of districts have actually eliminated transportation for magnet programs that was not a step we wanted to take," said Alachua County Schools Spokesperson Jackie Johnson.
Last Wednesday more than 2700 parents received the message that altered bus routes are on the district's website. The onus will fall on parents to pitch in.
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