Share this article

print logo

Soaring cost of fuel stirs talk of how to tighten belt

The high cost of diesel fuel and heating fuel has the Amherst Central School Board looking for ways to cut corners.

Mark Whyle, the district's director of administrative services, told the board Tuesday that the district could be looking at a spending increase of about $150,000 if fuel consumption for next year remains at this year's level.

Whyle presented the board several potential cost-cutting ideas that are being considered throughout the state, from reducing the amount of time buses spend idling to the far-fetched option of adopting a four-day school week.

Other preliminary ideas Whyle presented included reducing or eliminating field trips, examining cooperative bus routes with other districts, consolidating bus routes, closing district buildings on weekends and evenings and reducing heat in hallways and other less frequently used areas where possible.

Whyle said further increases in the cost of diesel fuel could cost the district between $40,000 and $60,000 next year.

Over the next four weeks, the board will examine ways the district can cut fuel consumption as administrators begin the process of developing a budget for next year, Superintendent Dennis Ford said.

Regardless of what combination of cost-cutting measures the board adopts, the district will likely have to dip into its contingency budget to make ends meet, Ford said.

"If we did something in every one of these [options], we would still be hitting the fund balance," Ford said. "I don't want to get into a position of nickel-and-diming fuel costs at the expense of taking activities away from students."

"We're going to be in a budget crunch," Ford added. "We need to begin finding more alternative steps to take."

The superintendent said district administrators he had spoken to strongly recommended closing the schools down during holiday breaks in December and February, which could mean athletics events or extracurricular activities could be canceled or moved to another location.

There are no comments - be the first to comment