Tuesday, NewsChannel 11 broke down what the City of Lubbock pays for gas, and Wednesday we're targeting the Lubbock Independent School District to see just how much fuel prices are affecting them and your tax dollars.
Plans are already underway to budget fuel costs for the upcoming school year. About $480,000 was budgeted for the 2006-2007 school year, but next year's estimated fuel costs are more than double that amount at $1.2 million.
School buses use 75 percent of the fuel budget. The remaining 25 percent is for other LISD vehicles, which do not use the bulk gasoline used by the buses. They are told to fill up at a Data Fuel station around town.
So far this year the LISD has spent more than $800,000 on gas. "We always try to be as efficient as possible and with gas prices on the rise as they are, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure we are getting the best price for fuel and that we are not wasting fuel," said LISD Executive Director of Purchasing/Contract Services Traci Robertson.
NewsChannel 11 contacted Data Fuel and they told us two of the stations have closed down, leaving only two open in the area. Now LISD maintenance workers have to go out of their way to get gas. "Yeah it's pretty far because the one closest to the plant is right off of Clovis and just about a mile away from the one I work at, but I have to drive clear across town just to get gas over here," said LISD maintenance worker Noe Vega.
LISD says they have just become aware of this problem. "Obviously if we have problems with our Data Fuel we are going to look at doing something else or making sure at what we are doing is most efficient," said Robertson.
One way to help cut fuel cost is combining bus routes. "We are constantly looking at our bus routes. We make sure we are running our routes as efficiently as possible. We consolidate routes as much as we can. As I said earlier we want to make sure that kids are not on the bus any longer than they have to be," said Robertson.
But the school district says the budget problem is also a state issue. "Another problem that the district is facing is that the state has not increased the transportation funding formula in over 20 years. So the reimbursement we get from the state is based on fuel prices and fuel costs from 1986. So that hurts us as well," said Robertson.
In the future the school district may consider using buses that run on alternative fuel.
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