Buford considering fuel-saving measures

BUFORD - Board of Education members for Buford city schools are beginning to take measures to save fuel in light of skyrocketing fuel costs.

Running 17 or 18 buses per day may not sound like much, but $100,000 a year in diesel fuel has a big impact on a small school system. Superintendent Sue Morris reviewed upcoming field trips for the schools.

"I've canceled all of these trips. Teachers can resubmit their requests on a monthly basis, and we'll go from there," Morris said.

Extra-curricular activities, such as football, band and cheerleading, will not be affected at this time, although school administrators are starting to combine groups on buses to cut fuel costs.

Board member Bruce Fricks suggested using alternative fuels, specifically, used vegetable oil.

"Diesel engines were originally designed to run on peanut oil," said Fricks. "The bus engines would have to be modified, or the oil would have to be heated to create the right viscosity, but it can be done."

Two other school systems are already using alternative fuel sources - Gaston, N.C., and Charleston, W.Va.

"We have a super arrangement right now with Gwinnett County," said board member Phillip Beard. "There was a big movement years ago to start using propane to run the buses, but there were problems such as mileage limitations."

Morris asked Fricks to continue to research the concept and report back to her.

School news

All of the schools in Buford are reporting much better attendance by students because of a pilot program called the Sharp Program. Students are rewarded for good attendance at school, and that positive reinforcement has made improvements in the Academy and elementary, middle and high school. Buford high school performed well at the Oct. 15 band competition held at Collins Hill High School, earning several awards of distinction. Buford Middle School raised more than $1,400 for new books for the media center by selling barbecue.