Geddes: Fuel costs extend past sedans and SUVs

This year's school budgets reflect the recent increases in fuel. The Solvay transportation budget increased $49,165, an amount that does not account for the planned purchase of three new buses. Budget information distributed to Solvay district residents in May noted the rising costs of fuel as contributing greatly to the increase in the transportation budget.

The transportation budget increase was among the biggest increases in the 2008-09 program component from 2007, behind instruction, instructional technology, and employee benefits.

At Westhill, the transportation budget increased $98,118 for the 2008-09 school year, which included a $62,000 increase for supplies and materials, the category under which fuel falls.

When the budget votes in both districts were held on May 20, the average price at the pump in Central New York was $3.74 per gallon; throughout the preceeding months, when the budgets were compiled, the price per gallon had hovered around $3, while experts predicted prices reaching $4 or even $5 per gallon by the end of summer.

Now in June, as schools let out for summer vacation, the state average is already well above $4 a gallon.

At Solvay, other departments have been forced to take the high prices into consideration.

Athletic Director John Dippold said that for over a year scheduling has been affected by the costs of fuel.

Most noticeably, what teams Solvay is playing, and how they get there. Dippold said there has been a conscious effort to schedule non-league games with teams geographically closer than in past years.

The difficulty comes in keeping games competitive while trying to accommodate for the fuel costs, he added.

Walberta Park Primary School Principal Maureen Mulderig said the number of field trips taken has not been affected by the gas prices.

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