Bus costs top $3 per mile for 2001-2002 school year
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2001
[08/17/01] Buses ferrying Vicksburg Warren School District students will log 1.2 million miles in the next 11 months, consuming $275,000 worth of fuel toward a total operating cost topping $3 per mile.
Jack Cooper, veteran director of pupil transportation for the district, said $3,700,220 allocated to transportation will pay for staffing, maintaining and operating 157 buses.
The increase of $25,000 is a small one from the 2000-2001 fiscal year when a nationwide spike in energy prices helped make the initial bus fuel budget inadequate. The district budgeted $3,651,243 for overall transportation costs in that plan.
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“It really hit us by surprise in October or November, when everybody started paying more for gas,” Cooper said.
Instead of the initial $225,000 planned for bus fuel, Cooper’s department had to spend $267,000, he said.
But with prices now on the decline throughout the United States, Cooper said he’s confident that $275,000 is enough.
“I think the budget does the right thing,” he said. “I think we’ll be all right this time.”
Cooper’s department buys fuel through a state contract from Fuelman, a company that sells discounted gasoline to thousands of government agencies and non-profit corporations nationwide. With the volume discount plus the fact that fuel for schools is exempt from state and federal taxes, a gallon pumped can cost as little as half what any other consumer would pay.
“We pay a good deal less than ordinary folks at the pump,” said Dale McClung, district director of finance.
VWSD bus drivers can fill up at about 13 sites in Warren County, with a card resembling the ones used for withdrawals at ATMs. After scanning the card, drivers have to record a PIN number and their mileage.
“We get a fleet printout showing us who’s driving how many miles,” Cooper said. “It’s a really good system.”