Bus fees doubling for some Chinook’s Edge students

More than 20 per cent of Chinook’s Edge students who ride the bus to school will be hit with bigger busing fees come September.

More than 20 per cent of Chinook’s Edge students who ride the bus to school will be hit with bigger busing fees come September.

The rural school division says the new provincial budget is largely to blame.

Students living further than 2.4 km from school — about 3,600 students — will continue to ride for free.

But Grade 6 to 12 students who live any closer, most of them residing in towns, will see their annual fee more than double to $300 from $130. Fees per family will be capped at $600 for those with more than two children riding the bus.

Kindergarten to Grade 5 students will pay $20 more when their fee increases to $150 from $130.

School district superintendent Kurt Sacher said space on buses may also be limited for the 1,350 bus students who live less than 2.4 km from school as the division looks at managing limited resources.

“The mandate is to serve those students beyond 2.4 km from a school. That’s what we’re funded for,” Sacher said on Thursday.

Parents are encouraged to talk to transportation department to arrange busing sooner rather than later, he said.

Chinook’s Edge school board decided it had to reduce some of the subsidizing of in-town busing and passed a motion on Wednesday. Fees were increased, but will still be comparable to other jurisdictions. A letter has been sent to parents.

The provincial budget announced two weeks ago forces schools to reduce their non-teaching costs, which includes transportation, by three per cent.

Midway through 2013, the province also eliminated its fuel subsidy to jurisdictions that helped subsidize busing costs. Chinook’s Edge lost $500,000.

Sacher said transportation has been a challenge without the fuel subsidy. The division is facing a $400,000 deficit in regards to its $5.9 million transportation budget.

“Our buses go three million km in a year when you add up all the travel time,” Sacher said.

“Geographically we are spread out quite a bit if you compare us to other school divisions. There’s over 100 buses going every day in our school division in different locations.”

He said as a rural school division, the board was adamant that students living further than 2.4 km not be charged a fee.

Minimizing bus duplication by working with neighbouring jurisdictions on busing strategies is also underway. Costs may also be reduced if more students walk to school rather than pay higher fees, he said.

The board doesn’t want to pull money out of the classroom, out of that instruction block, to subsidize a transportation deficit, Sacher said.

It’s hoped the changes will eliminate $150,000 to $200,000 of that deficit, he said.

Chinook’s Edge School Division operates a $124-million budget and has a student population of 11,000.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Joe Hittel rappels down 12 storey building in Red Deer – again

Eighty four year old Red Deerian was not afraid to rappel down… Continue reading

Indigenous nation in Washington State seeks meeting with feds on Trans Mountain

VANCOUVER — The Lummi Nation in northwest Washington state is requesting a… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Weekend hours extended

Things heated up indoors on the Friday of Westerner Days Fair &… Continue reading

Central Alberta author recalls the giant step for humankind that happened 50 years ago

Sigmund Brouwer has written about the Apollo 11 moon mission

‘I’m choosing not to be a victim,’ Danforth shooting survivor says

TORONTO — Danielle Kane struggled with depression in her 20s and even… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

ESPN reasserts political talk policy after attack on Trump

NEW YORK — ESPN is reminding employees of the network’s policy to… Continue reading

Tentative agreement averts strike by Quebec provincial park employees

MONTREAL — A full-blown strike by employees at Quebec provincial parks that… Continue reading

Air Force will end search for missing Quebec businessman and his son

MONTREAL — The Royal Canadian Air Force said Saturday it will gradually… Continue reading

Panel orders federal judge to reconsider Trump appeal

WASHINGTON — An appeals court on Friday ordered a federal judge to… Continue reading

What consumers can do as regulators weigh compounds’ risks

WASHINGTON — The government is trying to sort out how to handle… Continue reading

Technology, temporary help keeps farmers on job longer

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — At 79 years old, Art McManus says he’s still… Continue reading

Standoff on Hawaii mountain is about more than a telescope

HONOLULU — Protesters fighting the construction of a giant telescope on a… Continue reading

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

OTTAWA — A federal program designed to help low-income Canadians file their… Continue reading

Most Read