Have high oil prices affected the day to day operations at your school?

TeAch-nology.com's Teacher Poll of the Week
Have high oil prices affected the day to day operations at your school?

View Results

Despite high oil prices many of us continue on with our daily lives much the same as we always have. Driving is a little more expensive than it used to be, and heating our homes with oil is an added expense, but realistically what can we do? Most of us still need to drive and unless we switch to some other form of heat we can only turn our thermostats so low. Day to day activities still continue in spite of rising costs.

The same happens at schools. Day to day operations continue even when there is a hike in oil prices. The results of this poll showed almost even numbers with a very slight majority reporting that oil prices have had an effect at their school. But what is this effect? Probably much the same as the effect high prices have in our homes. We lower the thermostat a couple of degrees to try to conserve energy, but we soldier on.

Driving is one area where dedicated people can save money by using alternate means of transportation such as public transit, car pooling, walking or riding a bike. In other words we try to use our cars less. So do schools. Field trips that use school buses become more expensive and so more difficult to accommodate. Relying on volunteer parent drivers becomes unreliable as more and more people cut back on their own expenditures.

Some school districts have made more drastic cost cutting measures in an effort to meet budget requirements across the board. Some have chosen to extend the teaching day by several minutes throughout the school year in order to take an extra week off at spring break. This extended break period equals significant cost savings to the district by saving on heat and maintenance during that time.

Teachers and students may not see a change in the day to day operation of things. The bell still rings when it's supposed to, lessons are still taught, tests are taken, and assignments are still handed out and completed. Behind the scenes, however, there must be some sign that higher oil prices are making things difficult. The most obvious thing that students may notice is the issue around field trips which has already been discussed. But if more money is being spent heating our schools and running the fleet of buses, then that money has to come from somewhere.

What other programs or capital expenditures are suffering as a result? Those teachers who have noticed a change in daily operations will probably notice other changes as well. Are planned upgrades being postponed or cancelled altogether? Is their less money being set aside for individual classrooms from the school budget? These things are not within the scope of the question but it would be interesting to see what the results showed if they were.