School district benefits from low fuel costs

By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Feb. 18, 2020 11:50 am

HANNIBAL | Recent lower fuel prices in Northeast Missouri have not just been applauded by the general public. The Hannibal School District has taken advantage of them, resulting in several thousand dollars in savings.

In December, the school district was able to purchase a tanker of diesel fuel for $2 a gallon.

“It was the lowest it had been in quite some time,” said Rich Stilley, school district business manager, during the January Board of Education meeting, adding that fuel prices prior to that had been running around $2.07 a gallon.

Because the school district had budgeted an overall price of $3.25 per gallon, Stilley said December's purchase of 7,500 gallons represented an estimated savings of $9,375. He noted that each fuel purchase bid is a competitive bid involving local vendors.

The district is constantly looking to make fuel purchases at a reduced price, according to Stilley.

“The price of oil can be very volatile. I review the pricing on a weekly basis and work with Scott Speer, transportation director, to determine if we need to do a one-time buy to 'top off' if there is a spike in oil prices,” he said.

“They (Speer and Stilley) do a good job of monitoring that (fuel prices) and if they see a low price they will fill up the tanks as best they can,” said Superintendent Susan Johnson, during the January Board of Education meeting.

Because the Hannibal bus fleet logs around 230,000 miles annually, or 1,250 miles a day, it is understandable why district officials are being vigilant regarding the price of oil.

“Anything below $3.25 a gallon is a savings and anything above $3.25 a gallon has a negative impact on our budget, knowing the reduced state aid for transportation,” Stilley said, adding that fuel savings remain in the transportation department's budget.

Fuel prices are down compared to the previous school year. According to Stilley, the district paid $2.41 a gallon in its final purchase of calendar year 2018.

Thus far in 2020 the cost of fuel in Northeast Missouri has continued to benefit the Hannibal School District.

“Locally, gas prices are down as compared to other parts of Missouri and oil prices are fluctuating. There was a high of $63 a barrel and a low of $52 a barrel,” Stilley said.

Helping the school district get the most out of its fuel purchases is the operating efficiency of its bus fleet, which is now 100 percent diesel.

“The engines are more efficient and transportation (department) has done a great job of maximizing mileage by implementing a no-idle policy that has reduced non-road use of fuel,” Stilley said.

Stilley praised the transportation department's personnel for their ongoing efforts in behalf of the school district.

“Mr. Speer and his team are always reviewing ways of being more efficient and cost effective. They do a great job of servicing our student, school district and community,” he said.



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