Georgia governor asks state's schools to close to save gas - - Columbia, South Carolina

Georgia governor asks state's schools to close to save gas

(Atlanta - AP)  September 25, 2005 - Georgia's Governor Perdue asked the state's schools to take two "early snow days" and cancel classes Monday and Tuesday to help conserve gasoline as Hurricane Rita threatens the nation's fuel supply line.

If all of Georgia's schools close, the governor estimated about 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel would be saved each day by keeping buses off the road.

Perdue also said an undetermined amount of regular gasoline also would be saved by allowing teachers, other school staff and some parents to stay home. Electricity also would be conserved by keeping the schools closed.

It's up to each school superintendent to decide whether to call off classes.

The governor said, "If Georgians stick together, work together and conserve together we can weather whatever problems Rita brings our way with the least possible inconvenience."

As he did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Perdue asked the state's residents and ordered government agencies to limit nonessential travel and use commute alternatives including telecommuting, car pooling and four-day work weeks.

He said if demand is reduced, "we will have enough market power to hold prices down. All together, we can influence demand within our state."

As prices spiraled after Hurricane Kitrana, Perdue suspended the state's gas tax and the Legislature quickly approved the measure in a special session, saving motorists an estimated 15 cents per gallon.

The tax is scheduled to return a week from tomorrow. All but four of the state's 181 school districts announced plans to comply with the governor's request. The exceptions were the Floyd County, Haralson County, Rome city and Thomasville city districts.

The governor made his request during an afternoon conference call with the state's school superintendents. Many administrators were surprised and left scrambling to notify staff, faculty and parents of the cancellations because some schools had already finished classes for the day.

Posted 8:57pm by Kaela Harmon

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