BIRMINGHAM Ala. (WIAT) — Rising gas prices are now starting to affect school systems across central Alabama.
Mark Cleckler, transportation supervisor at Chilton County Schools, said the county has already spent most of its budget on gas for the remainder of the school year.
“If we start to fall short, then our local board of education would have to find a way to come in and help out,” Cleckler said. “Of course, that budget is already streamlined itself so we would have to be creative to cover all of our fuel costs.”
Statewide, gas at schools is only funded up to 80% by the state government with districts responsible for coming up with the remaining funds.
Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette said that during the last month, fuel rates have increased 70 cents per gallon for the gas they use on the school buses. This comes as the district continues to face challenges, such as how they get groceries delivered on site.
“We had to go out and hire our own trucks to go get our groceries and bring them to our schools. Then our groceries have begun increasing,” Barnette said. “Add that with the increase in fuel, it’s challenging to say the least.”
Barnette said the unanticipated rise of gas prices ultimately cut into the school budget, affecting what can be spent on capital projects or in the classroom.