School Districts Feeling the Pain at the Pump

The pain at the pump can be felt across the board.

As the prices go higher and higher"budgets continue to grow out of control just to keep up with the fluctuating prices at the pump.

"It's going to concern everybody, Transportation Director for La Joya ISD, Reynaldo Cedillo said. I think my employees are doing everything in their power to save the money."

La joya has a 1.9 million dollar budget|to cover over 400 square miles a day|

Over the past five years, Cedillo has had to continuously crunch the numbers and it takes all hands on deck to find ways to save.

"You ask the guys in the fox holes what's better, Cedillo explained. I ask my drivers what they think is better. They are the ones who help make the routes." Cedillo and his team have manage to (condense or cut) bus routes -- to cut down on fuel costs..

Over the years - the move has saved La Joya more than thousands of dollars|

"We had 48 buses move to 7 mile line, Cedillo started. We figured out that it will be $200,000 less that we would spend on fuel. They no longer have to 22 miles a day.....that's a lot of money that we're going to save."

He admits the system is not perfect, but said they do their best not to spend more than they are allotted.

In Mission - the school district covers a much smaller ear|

Only 41 square miles a day| costing the district more than 400-THOUSAND a year|.

Recently - that budget was increased by $40k to compensate for the pain at the pump (show rising numbers)

"In the last two or three years we have been planning to increase the fuel costs and build that into the budget cycle, Mission CISD Spokesman Craig Verely said. You have to make adjustments as needed."

So what happens when your funding is cut by 25 percent?

One district says they had to start getting creative.

"We're trying to do more with less."

Director for Support Services at Hidalgo ISD, Ben Arjona, has only been on the job five months|.

But in that time he and his staff have found ways to keep from going into the red and over their $66,000 fuel budget.

But it wasn't easy|

"We want to be able to serve the students as much as we can, but at the same time we don't want to waste are resources, Arjona said.

So the district reconfigured their routes and stopped running buses after 7pm.

"It used to be that there were buses leaving at five, another at six, and another at seven....some even later than that, Arjona explained. We want to be able to serve the students as much as we can, but a lot of times we need to maximize our efforts to combine our resources. We condense all of that into one."

The Mission, La Joya, and Hidalgo school districts told Action 4 News they are also being more aggressive when it comes to maintenance|it is the key to keeping fuel costs low and keeps children safe.