Gas gelling caused school bus woes Friday for Wheatland

Gelling of diesel fuel in the district fleet of buses was the problem that lead to cancellation of classes last Friday at Wheatland Center School, Jason Tadlock, district administrator, explained in a letter to parents issued today.

Here’s the text of the message, which went out via email this morning:

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I wanted to write you and again apologize for the late notice regarding the school cancellation on Friday. It is my desire and intent to make these decisions as early as possible and give you notice as soon as I know. I recognize the inconvenience it is for parents to scramble for day care, and I certainly don’t ever want you to be in that position at the last second.

On Friday January 21st I woke up early in case the temperature had fallen to the point where school would need to be called off. We are part of a group of local schools that work together in making school cancellation decisions. Those that determine whether school needs to be called off or not, work with the area bus companies and local authorities in order to access roads and weather. By all accounts the temperature had not dropped to the point where school needed to be closed. Thus, no early decision to cancel school was made.

Drivers arrived at Wheatland Center School arrived early and started the buses. The buses warmed up for well over half an hour. We also use a special fuel treatment to prevent the fuel lines from gelling up. However, as the buses began to pull out onto the roads around 7:05 a.m., the diesel fuel began to gel in the gas lines or fuel filters. When this happens it results in a loss of power and eventually kills the vehicle. We did everything we could to keep the buses running at that point, and to keep school on, but our efforts were fruitless. Rather than delay the decision any further I decided to call school off. I considered a two hour delay, but due to the fact that there was no guarantee the buses would be ready to go in two hours, I decided to cancel school for the entire day. Had I known any earlier that the buses would gel up; I would have made the call sooner.

Again, I want to apologize for the late notice, and I want to assure you that we have taken several steps that should prevent this from happening again.

Thank you for your patience,

Jason Tadlock

District Administrator


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