Elizabeth City, N.C. – Students in Elizabeth City aren’t traveling as much these days.
In the past, student trips typically added up about 50-60,000 miles a year on the school’s activity buses, according to the superintendent.
The buses are used to take educational field trips out of the county. They’re also used for sports and band trips.
But this year, the number of miles students traveled dropped by about 10 – 15,000.
The reason for the difference could be a new activity bus fee that just went into effect this school year.
With some of their activity buses getting older, the school system is leasing-to-own four new buses over a five-year period.
To pay for them, they started charging a fee this year – $1.25 per mile.
Depending on the trip, it’s paid by students, booster clubs or PTAs. And next year, the fee could be even higher.
Since fewer trips were taken this year, the school system is short the amount of money they need for their first lease payment due next month.
They’ll have to pull the money from somewhere else, so going forward they have to figure out how they can cover the cost.
Though the higher fee could mean a strain, the superintendent says the newer buses are a necessity to make sure students stay safe.