Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Fuel card program moves forward for Washington County Schools

Fuel tanks will soon be removed from three school campuses in Washington County, as the school district makes the transition from its current fueling system to a fuel card program for its bus fleet.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes said there were three reasons why the discussions began about implementing a fuel card program for the district for its bus fleet. Those included concerns about environmental impact on the district’s stations from a spillage or leak; accountability associated with using fuel cards; and safety concerns regarding the current locations of the fuel tanks.
“For those three reasons, I support the use of a fuel card product over our current method of fueling,” Dykes said. “I would recommend removing those tanks from those campuses as soon as possible if (cards) are implemented.”
Buses are currently fueled at the bus garage, Lamar School, David Crockett High School and West View Elementary.
Scott McDonald, a representative of McPherson Oil Products, provided a presentation for the Washington County Board of Education at its January meeting. He presented information about the free program, Fuelz Fleet Card. The program is free because the company makes its money from the gas stations.
The presentation touched upon such services as money-saving purchasing control; real-time reporting; a chance to monitor expenses and prevention of unauthorized spending by drivers.
Dykes said the school board had asked him to access the locations of stations that could possibly be used to fuel a bus or fleet through the Fuelz Fleet Card program and determine how viable those stations were.
The board was provided with a map of the school zones showing where the fueling stations were in conjunction to the schools during the Feb. 25 called meeting.
“It became obvious to us that we had problems serving at least five schools,” Dykes said of the map. “We have some limitations regarding south side schools.”
The limitations pertained to the ease in which the buses could enter the station, fill the bus with gas and exit the station.
The five schools that showed problems are Jonesborough Elementary, Jonesborough Middle School, David Crockett High School, Lamar School and Grandview Elementary.
The south side schools are affected because of the lack of nearby stations that are part of the fleet card program.
“All of the other schools appeared to have a station relatively close, especially those on the north side,” Dykes said. “The north side schools are in excellent shape.”
He told the board that if they were interested in pursuing the fuel card, they had a few options. Dykes said the board might want to phase in the program on the north side first and give the organization time to perhaps obtain adequate stations on the south side.
“I have a hard time supporting that,” Board Member Jack Leonard said.
He said by phasing in the north side and leaving the southern part of the county as is, the safety concern still remains.
“I don’t think we should do one part and say it is okay to leave another part,” Leonard said. “We need to take those items (gas tanks) off our school property.”
After some lengthy discussion, Board Member Clarence Mabe made a motion, which was later taken off the table. His motion was to implement the fuel card for the north side schools and leave the south side as is for a year.
Mabe said that year would give other companies an opportunity to get onboard with the Fuelz Fleet Card program and furnish the district with more fueling locations.
“I have a hard time supporting that,” Leonard repeated.
By only implementing the program in half the district, fuel tanks would still remain on the campuses on the south side.
“At least we are taking them off some campuses,” Mabe said of his motion.
An amendment to the motion was made by Leonard. His motion was to accept the fuel program, provide fuel cards to all bus drivers and remove fuel tanks from all school sites.
Leonard said if a bus driver could not get to one of the Fuelz Fleet Card sites, they would fuel at the bus garage.
Board Member David Hammond seconded the motion, stating that if it were up to him he would switch over to the fuel card program that night to get the tanks off the school campuses.
“I cannot justify where we can remove tanks and leave tanks,” Leonard said. “It’s hard to justify that to people. To my understanding those need to be removed. I’m trying to find a way to get them off our school sites.”
Although the motion did not receive full support, it carried with a 6 to 3 vote. Mabe, Ervin and Todd Ganger voted against the motion.