Bus routes for Kiona-Benton School District in jeopardy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Bus routes for Kiona-Benton School District in jeopardy

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KIONA-BENTON, Wash. -- High gas prices are putting the squeeze on school districts. For the Kiona-Benton School District, that could mean cuts or reductions in bus routes.

Mark Noyes oversees transportation maintenance for the Kiona-Benton School District. He says a lot of money has been spent on gas for school buses this year. "The prices have gone up. For this year alone about $29,000 over what we would have spent from prior years."

The Ki-Be School District has about 45 vehicles. The smaller cars only cost around $30 to fill up, but it costs any where from $300-$400 dollars to fill up one of their 20 school buses. Do the math, and that costs between $6,000-$8,000.

The district has a $75,000 budget to fuel their vehicles this year and there's only enough left to fill all the buses one more time. After that, money will have to be taken from other areas. In order to avoid that, plans are being made for the future, including cutting some bus routes. Cuts will mean kids will have to walk up to a mile...in some cases down roads with no sidewalks, leaving parents worried about sex offenders and reckless drivers.

Safety is the district's biggest concern, so Noyes is planning to ask for a $100,000 budget next year so reductions in routes can be avoided.