School districts in Gregg county are anticipating more students on their buses this year. The reason - parents choosing to put their kids on the bus rather than use their own gas to drive them to school. But, that could mean east Texas schools may be in for more pain at the pump.
As Gregg county school districts gear up for the coming school year, they're also bracing for a fuel crunch, which could present a student transportation challenge.
"As a district we have received a few calls from parents asking for transportation, maybe a little bit more than usual. In the past as a district one of the things we do is provide transportation," said Brian Bowman, Longview ISD's public information officer.
Although they won't know until after classes begin, they expect more parents will have their kids taking the bus.
"As far as gas prices, our fuel budget alone has increased somewhere around four to five hundred thousand dollars," said Bowman. "If more kids are riding that means the districts will have to add more routes, and that means taking more from their budgets for gas. We'll get money from the state but it's a flat rate they're not going to increase the amount they send to us because we're getting additional riders."
As with all districts, its an-adjust-as-you-go situation, and the state only provides around 50 percent of the funding needed for school buses.
"Superintendents have tried to address with the legislature for many years now, it just doesn't look at the rising cost of gas and transportation," said Wes Jones, Spring Hill ISD superintendent.
"...instead of stopping at every doorstep, maybe at the corner of a block where 5 or 6 kids could get on," said Jones of a possible solution.
Pine Tree, Spring Hill, and LISD classes begin August 25th.