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Diesel deal could save Hall County schools half a million dollars
Bus driver Karen Pass fills up the 65-gallon tank on a school bus Monday at the Hall County schools transportation department. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The Hall County school system has locked in a six-month fuel contract that could save the system about $500,000.

Jewel Armour, executive director of transportation for Hall County schools, said the school system secured a contract with D-Jay Petroleum of Gainesville that will supply the system with 42,000 gallons of diesel fuel a month in March through April and again in August through October.

"In those six months, we’ll save in the ballpark of over $500,000 based on what we’ve budgeted," Armour said. "... The other good thing about this is we’re guaranteed to get our fuel. If we were to have another hurricane or a gas shortage, we would be guaranteed to get that fuel at that price."

The fuel will be set aside for Hall County schools, he explained.

Armour said the school board budgeted fuel in this year’s budget at about $4 per gallon. He said as of Feb. 10, the school system was paying $1.53 per gallon of diesel fuel, a price that includes a reduced tax rate for government bodies. Under the contract, the school system will pay on average $1.60 per gallon of fuel.

"It’s a little more (than what we’re paying now), but that’s an average over six months and if we can stay at that price, we’ll be doing real well," Armour said.

He said the further out the school system contracts fuel, the more expensive it is.

And Armour said once the school system uses more than 42,000 gallons of gas each month, it will purchase additional fuel at the market price plus delivery fees and taxes. He said according to the contract, the system must use all 42,000 gallons of fuel each month or pay a penalty.

Armour said the system typically uses more than 42,000 gallons of fuel per month. The school board initially budgeted more than $2 million to pay for the system’s fuel expenses in the 2008-09 school year.