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Low Fuel Prices Will Help Schools Fund More Technology

Low Fuel Prices Will Help Schools Fund More Technology

An investment firm estimates that schools will experience a $2 billion savings in lower fuel prices for the current fiscal year.

Schools can spend this "found money" on "technology and consumables such as digital content," according to an article on "However, what could turn out to be a boon for some states could have detrimental effects on other states."

"Trace Urdan, managing director and senior analyst for Wells Fargo Securities, issued a note to his clients in which he predicted that lower gas costs for school transportation could contribute as much as $2.03 billion this fiscal year and $2.71 billion next year to district budgets," the article said. "He cited data from two counties, Fairfax, VA and Montgomery, MD, reporting that school buses use an average of 37 gallons per student per school year. Tallying that across 49.8 million public school students equates to a total usage of 1.84 million gallons of gas. Budgets that were fixed in July 2014 based on an average U.S. gas price of $3.65 per gallon will now reap the difference for a price that currently averages $2.18 per gallon."

According to the article, "a similar bonanza will hit heating fuel budgets, which could result in a $1.65 billion windfall, the report said."

"Urdan examined data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency indicating that U.S. schools use about 31.6 gallons of heating oil per student per school year," the article said. "Heating oil sold for $4.12 per gallon on average when budgets were set in July. They've since fallen to about $3.08 per gallon. A similar amount would represent savings for the fiscal year 2016 budget as well, the analyst noted."

According to Urdan, the extra dollars would probably not be spent on "capital projects or staff expansion."

"More likely the money will go to multiple projects, including 'consumables and technology,'" the article said. "For example, he said, digital content providers could see 'increased sales' of supplemental digital content, materials and services into K-12."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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