BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The rising price of diesel fuel has Jefferson County Schools looking for options to reallocate funding.
The district reports the cost of diesel for transportation has nearly doubled from this time last year.
“It’s significant,” Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin said. “We have been fiscally prudent with our monies so we are able to accommodate at this particular time, but we are hoping to see some type of slowdown with this because we could use those monies in other areas.”
Gonsoulin says about 61 percent of children ride the bus to and from school every day – so the district cannot operate without buses.
“That is an integral part of what we do in the school system, so we are watching this very closely,” Gonsoulin said.
AAA spokesperson Clay Ingram said increased demand has been pushing pump prices higher – diesel hitting its highest national recorded average ever—this week.
“Typically, that results in our prices increasing as well and I think that will continue to happen this year,” Ingram said.
This means tougher times could loom ahead for Jefferson County Schools. The price of diesel prices Gonsoulin said were $194,000 for the month this February compared to $100,000.
“We could see it being a potential issue, but at this point financially we planned, and we are solid on that front, but we can always use those monies somewhere else as opposed to gas prices,” Gonsoulin said.
Upcoming summer programs like SOAR and the new signature academies begin soon – which means more money to be spent on transportation this summer that the district said it will be monitoring closely.