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War in Ukraine has made school buses expensive to operate

School busesRussia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has sent fuel prices through the roof. As a result, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is prepared to ask state lawmakers for an additional $32 million in the upcoming short session to ensure school districts have enough diesel to power buses next school year.

The state’s two-year budget assumes diesel costs at $2.30 per gallon.

“That’s not the reality right now,” Jamey Falkenbury, NCDPI director of legislative and community affairs, told the State Board of Education on Wednesday.

The estimated cost per gallon was about $3.50 per gallon last week and $­4.35 this week, according to data provided by NCDPI. Every 10 cents increase per gallon costs the state an additional $2 million, Falkenbury said.

“This $32 million reflects the increase in gas prices that we currently have right now and we will continue conversations with the General Assembly and the OSBM (Office of State Budget and Management) to see where we’re at during the summer once the budget is proposed and finalized,” Falkenbury said.

The $32 million to cover higher fuel costs is more than half of the $59.1 million in legislative priorities NCDPI plans to ask lawmakers to fund.

Here’s the department’s complete list of short session priorities:

  • Education

    War in Ukraine has made school buses expensive to operate

    Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has sent fuel prices through the roof. As a result, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction ...
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