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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Buses keep running in area districts



Schoolbus_sized Hurricane Ike might have pushed gas prices up and created some empty gas stations. But it's not stopping area school buses from running.

Unlike the Orange and Seminole districts, which have scaled back field trips other activities to conserve fuel (according to the Orlando Sentinel), our local districts have plenty of diesel on hand.

"Fortunately, our vendor has been able to maintain a fuel supply to us," said Tad Kledzik, supervisor of transportation maintenance for Pasco schools. "At this point we've not cut back any of our services."

Hillsborough got a delivery yesterday, spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said, and it has "more than a week's worth in our tanks."

And Pinellas has four days' worth of gas on hand, spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said.

Many districts began implementing conservation measures last week, after receiving word from the Department of Education that supply might be an issue. DOE director of transportation Charlie Hood wrote at the time:

Districts must continue to be as proactive as possible in implementing contingencies to ensure that school transportation and other motor fuel-dependent operations are not disrupted.   Many districts already have plans in place to ensure continued fuel, following lessons learned during the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.  Districts that have not already done so, however, should secure needed fuel from existing or alternate suppliers. While topping off buses and fuel storage tanks will be best for some, districts that have adequate supplies to get through the next couple of weeks should not top off fuel storage and school bus fuel tanks unnecessarily, because that may impact districts that are in more critical need.

Our office is continuing to survey each district's fuel needs by telephone, according to the reported urgency of each district's fuel situation. We have contacts for a number of alternate fuels suppliers and other avenues available to assist districts through this situation. Successful continuation of transportation to school programs during this period will also require your local efforts, of course.

Some districts just didn't get as far along as others.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:57am]


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