Anoka-Hennepin District Copes with Soaring Diesel Prices
Twin Cities gas prices are up to $4.11 cents per gallon on average. That’s about $1.30 higher than a year ago, and the impact is being felt all over.
Diesel prices are even higher than that, significantly impacting local school districts who need diesel fuel for school buses. According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of diesel in the Twin Cities is $5.31 a gallon.
Minnesota’s largest school district is feeling the impact of that higher price at the pump.
“We anticipate, I would think about, $150,000 extra we’ll be paying this year for fuel,” said Keith Paulson, the transportation director for Anoka-Hennepin Schools.
The Anoka-Hennepin School District contracts with three bus companies to transport 32,000 students a day using 310 large buses.
Last summer, when the district negotiated the price of fuel with the bus companies, they set the price at $2.20 a gallon. If the price goes above that, the district has to split the costs with the bus contractor.
Anoka-Hennepin will have to set a new price again this summer. To help save on costs, the district is working on a bus opt-out process for families.
“We’re asking families to let us know if they’re not going to use the bus.” Paulson said. “Especially high schools. We have about 50 percent of the students or less that actually ride the bus, so we’re going to try and help pinpoint what stops we may not need to go to. That would help make the routes be more efficient, more streamlined, and perhaps reduce the number of buses we need on the road.”
Anoka-Hennepin is also considering applying for grants to help purchase electric-powered buses.