Higher prices may mean fewer trips

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

With the rising fuel costs, area school districts are keeping a close watch on their transportation budgets.

Over the last three years, the Jackson School District has cut back on the number of field trips individual classrooms have been able to take. That is a trend that the district expects to continue, said Carol Woods, transportation director with the Jackson School District.

Woods said the schools are still able to do some short field trips, but the district discourages some of the longer trips.

Woods said it's difficult to budget transportation expenses because gas prices fluctuate. Still, the school has a responsibility, she said.

"The children have to have a ride to school so we have to give them that ride," she said.

For the Cape Girardeau Public school District buses are contracted out to First Student and the rise in fuel cost is affecting them as well.

The price of gas "really puts a damper on things," said Stacy Corcoran with First Student. "They are going to roll no matter what."

She also said the drivers aren't concerned because they are not paying any out-of-pocket expense.

Woods said gas prices could go down and are predicted to level off after Labor Day. "We're hoping we budgeted enough to sustain us for the school year," she said.

Woods said the rising fuel costs would not affect sports.

Football and sports schedules are done every two years and, because all the away games from last year are home games this year, rising fuel costs can't be addressed until the next round of scheduling, Woods said.

-- Aurora Meyer

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