OXFORD – Everyday 42 buses leave the Oxford Hills School District bus garage. They pick up about 3,600 students in an area spanning 425 square miles.

The buses travel 777,000 miles per year, averaging a stop every third of a mile, Superintendent Mark Eastman said.

It takes a $2 million chunk out of the budget to accomplish this.

The reason for the expense is simple – the Oxford Hills area is very spread out, Transportation Director Glenn Sirois said.

A computer system maps out the most efficient routes. The buses make two runs, one for the high school students and one for elementary school students.

High school students can walk up to one mile to get to a bus stop. Students in grades one to six can walk up to a half-mile and kindergarten students are picked up at their door, Eastman said.

Eastman said at the beginning of each budget year the district bids on a fuel price, which is locked in for the rest of the year. This year $276,758 is budgeted for diesel fuel.

The school district also budgeted $1,143,555 for driver costs, $194,316 in bus leases and purchases and $425,123 in repairs, according to information from the district’s budget.

The total transportation budget is $2,268,429.06, which breaks down to $2.92 per mile.

The district does exercise some money-saving tactics.

This fall kindergarten classes will run all day, eliminating the need for mid-day bus runs, Eastman said.

Also to cut costs, Sirois said bus drivers reduce the idle time the bus runs, such as warming the bus up in the morning or the time the bus sits outside the school.

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