Board pleased about help with fuel costs

Board pleased about help with fuel costs
Posted on 06/23/2022

Clearview’s Board of Trustees was pleased to learn this week that the provincial government will help with the rising cost of fuel. The province announced it will reinstate the Fuel Contingency Program where the monthly average diesel price exceeds $1.25 per litre. Also, it announced the program will be enacted retroactively to March 2022 and remain in place for the 2022-23 school year. 

Clearview uses about 400,000 litres of fuel (gas and diesel) each school year. Clearview’s buses travel 7,551 km daily and close to 1.3 million km per school year. Based on a $1.80 per litre in expected fuel pricing, the new source of funding will save approximately $225,000 per school year in Clearview. “This is what we have been advocating for the government to do,” says Guy Neitz, Clearview Board Chair. “Clearview’s Board has, for many months, been asking for assistance with the rising cost of fuel because we believe education dollars should be spent in our classrooms. Increased fuel costs were a significant concern for us in our recent budget, and we are grateful the government has acknowledged and responded to this challenge.” 

Clearview’s budget for fuel in the 2021-22 school year was $475,000. In 2022-23 the division expects to spend an additional $200,000 for a total fuel budget of $675,000. Without the announced additional funding, Clearview would be relying on $200,000 from instructional dollars to make up the difference. Now, with the anticipated additional funding from the Fuel Contingency Program, those dollars can instead be spent in classrooms and other priorities.

Clearview’s trustees have been advocating for support in this area for several months. In March 2022, Clearview’s Board, along with other boards and the Student Transportation Association of Alberta, wrote a letter to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange expressing concern about rising fuel costs. In June, Clearview’s Board voted with other Alberta school boards attending the Alberta School Boards’ Association’s Spring General Meeting, to request that the province reintroduce the Fuel Contingency Program, with a threshold of $1.20 per litre. The vote at the ASBA meeting resulted in 100% of boards supporting the request for the province to take action. 

“Boards advocate on behalf of school divisions and for students, and Alberta’s school boards sent a pretty clear message to the province in early June,” says Neitz. “We’re very pleased the government has heard our concerns and chosen to provide this additional funding.”