Coco Warner Reporting If you think your gasoline bill is high, imagine what it cost a school district to run their fleet of buses. It's costing more than anyone thought it would.
Molly McDonald has been a bus driver for the Granite School District for 18 years and she has never seen gas prices so high.
Molly McDonald, Granite Bus Driver: "It just keeps going up and up."
The buses take diesel fuel-- 80 to 100 gallons of it. There are 173 buses and each needs to be filled up around twice a week. It all adds up.
Tom Given, Dir. of Transportation, Granite School District: "We're paying $1.99 a gallon in July and we don't see it until the bill comes at the end of August, but we anticipate it's going to be more around $2.20. $2.25, we don't have to pay state taxes."
And school buses make up just 33 percent of all the vehicles in the Granite School District. There are cars for maintenance, for drivers ed, and all of those vehicles need fuel, and all of that fuel cost money.
How much money-- that's the question. Last year, diesel fuel in July cost $1.60 and the district spent 569,000 dollars on fuel for the year. That was an increase of 44 percent from the year before.
The state legislature determines 70 percent of Utah school districts' transportation budgets, but the money never seems to go far, especially when you factor in rising fuel costs.
Tom Given, Dir. of Transportation, Granite School District: "It's going to be difficult, I'm sure. I don't know if that means fewer buses; I hope not."
And if parents encourage their children to ride the bus they'll cut down on their own fuel expenses and support the district's busing system.
Tom Given/Dir. of Transportation, Granite School District: "We'll save money if everybody will ride the bus that is eligible."
Tom Given also says his bus drivers are doing everything they can to save on fuel-- they don't idle their vehicles or accelerate too quickly and they try and be efficient with bus routes.