Schools spending millions more on gas, but pausing the sales tax could cost them too

School leaders are concerned about losing funding
Posted at 10:12 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 18:27:42-04

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — About 700,000 children ride a school bus in Michigan. They travel over 900,000 miles every single school day.

School districts across the state are now spending millions more on gas as gas prices skyrocket. But how is that impacting schools? Could plans to lower gas prices for you make the situation even worse?

Katrina Morris is the executive director of the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation. She says this increase in gas price is really effecting the school's spending.

One year ago in Michigan, diesel averaged $3.06 a gallon, according to AAA. This week, the average price is $4.91 per gallon.

Over the course of a year, such a price difference would average out to just over $3.5 million more per month on gas.

Thomas Korth is a Transportation Services supervisor at Oakland Schools. He says Oakland Schools buys gas in bulk to help lower costs for some districts.

Districts are limiting idling, not warming up buses and are changing routes for efficiency.

“Whatever they can do to cut certain areas of cost, they are going to do it,” Korth said.

Novi Community School District says it uses about 6,000 gallons a month.

“In two months, we will spend $15,000 more on gas than we anticipated,” the superintendent adds.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has suggested a gas sales tax pause to help drivers. While many drivers like the idea, schools are concerned about losing funding for schools from that tax as they get hit by higher gas prices, inflation and students with extra needs due to the pandemic.

“They will say one thing to move the legislation forward and then it will impact school aid in a negative way,” Matthews warned.

If that happens, he says it will impact classrooms around the state.