Gas Prices Make School Budgets Run on Empty

"We're already cutting every other place," Dr. Hank Bounds, the Pascagoula School District Superintendent said. "Transportation is just one of those things you just can't cut."

Dr. Hank Bounds not alone in his worries that rising gas prices are going to cause school districts across South Mississippi to make some tough choices for the next school year.

"Any time prices go up, whether it happens to be on utilities of any sort, it does impact the budget," Dr. Tressie Harper, the Moss Point School District Superintendent said.

"It's really a bad time to hear that gas prices are about to skyrocket again in light of all the other financial woes we're facing," Bounds said.

And with gas prices in an upward trend, school district administrators admit some cuts will have to be made to put fuel in these buses. Right now the districts are already running on empty.

"So what we're having to do is look at what we're doing in our budget all over the district and try to anticipate where we can make cuts," Anna Hurt, the Ocean Springs School District Superintendent said.

Hurt's district has a fixed lower gas price for now, just like most other districts here. But in just a few weeks, that price will change as the district renogotiates a price for next year based on the inflated price right now.

"We're anticipating a ten percent increase over the RAC price that a petroleum company will allow us to use," Hurt explained.

But Hank Bounds and these others administrators say they're ready to face these challenges and can only hope prices will get better soon.

"But we'll deal with it," Bounds said. "We deal with every other thing that comes our way. We'll just have to deal with this as well."

Most school districts in South Mississippi will be re-negotiating gas prices by June 30th. Analysts are saying gas prices will continue to rise this summer because of higher demand due to more traveling.

By: Claire Nelson