Amid the less than good news that's marked school transportation for much of the school year, Wake County school administrators are touting they've saved $900,000 in fuel costs.
In a press release today, Wake points to the decision over the summer to buy 1.6 million gallons of diesel fuel — roughly a six-month supply — at $2.82 per gallon. Wake had originally budgeted to use three million gallons for the 2012-13 fiscal year at $3.30 per gallon, a cost of $9.9 million.
In contrast, most school districts use the state contract fuel price, which is now at $3.40 per gallon. Wake is saying that buying at the $2.82 per gallon price could result in more than $900,000 in savings for the district.
This is the third fiscal year in a row that Wake has saved money by deciding to use its own purchasing power to buy fuel instead of using the state price. According to the press release, Wake made a similar purchase in October 2011 that resulted in approximately $600,000 in savings for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
“We were pleased to be able to create savings again this year by identifying the most timely opportunities to make our fuel purchases,” said Bob Snidemiller, senior director of transportation, in the press release.
Much of the rest of the news about transportation hasn't been as good. At last week's school board meeting, temporary Superintendent Stephen Gainey said they've wound up returning 43 of the 52 buses that had been sidelined at the start of the school year to save money.
Gainey said the problem of buses not running on time has improved as they've been getting more permanent drivers hired and train to run the buses placed back in service.
"We’re making progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet," Gainey told the board.