NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Many Tennessee students head back to the classroom next month. But as gas prices skyrocket, school districts could be in for a bumpy ride.

JC Bowman, Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, predicts all 146 districts will be left scrambling if fuel prices don’t come down soon.

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“You’re going to see bus routes cut. It’s going to hurt the poor, the people that can’t get to school. You may see bus routes eliminated. I’m just very concerned about it. I think it’s an issue that needs to be addressed,” Bowman said.

According to Wednesday’s AAA report, consumers are paying about $4.96 per gallon. Diesel drivers are paying near $5.81.

Bowman fears that diesel prices could jump another $2 to 3 dollars before the first day of school, creating a big bill to fill up buses. “If that happens, how are we going to pay for it?”

Bowman wants the state to consider a temporary gas suspension to help public schools and private citizens.

Governor Bill Lee and the legislature have already passed a grocery tax cut for the month of August, and a one-year suspension of state vehicle registration fees.

Governor Lee’s office said Wednesday that those two tax cuts will provide the most direct relief to every Tennessean.

“I don’t know why we couldn’t do both? At least at some level. Cut some of the gas tax away and help our citizens out. It’s a no-brainer, it’s common sense. I think the governor should re-think this at this time,” Bowman said.

Governor Lee’s office sent News 2 the following statement:

“As our country faces historic inflation and skyrocketing cost-of-living, Governor Lee has prioritized tax cuts that will provide the most direct relief to every Tennessean, including a suspension of state and local grocery taxes for the entire month of August and a one-year suspension of state vehicle registration fees. Together, these two tax cuts will provide roughly $210 million in direct savings for Tennessee residents. The Governor will continue working with the legislature to ease the burden on Tennessee families, but ultimately, the Biden administration must address the causes of nationwide, 40-year-high inflation and reverse damaging federal policies that have drastically reduced our country’s energy independence.”

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The one-month grocery tax suspension will provide direct, immediate relief to every Tennessee resident.

  • August 1 – August 31 – no state or local grocery sales tax
    • State tax is currently 4%, local taxes vary
  • Estimated $90 million in total savings for Tennesseans
  • Find details about the grocery tax suspension here + here.
  • Read Gov. Lee’s initial announcement here.

The state will waive the annual vehicle registration fee for every Tennessee driver.

  • For one full year beginning July 1, the state portion of the fee will be eliminated.
    • $16.75 for Class A – motorcycles
    • $23.75 for Class B – cars and motorhomes
  • $120 million in total savings for Tennesseans 
  • Find details about vehicle registration fee suspension here.