Public school board looking at busing change

Red Deer Public Schools will look at changing how it buses elementary and kindergarten school students as part of an effort to reduce its $1.4-million deficit.

Red Deer Public Schools will look at changing how it buses elementary and kindergarten school students as part of an effort to reduce its $1.4-million deficit.

The school board decided Wednesday it would consider all options suggested from senior administration to cut the deficit and bring it into balance over the next three years. One key recommendation was to eliminate the transportation shortfall of $216,000.

Cody McClintock, associate superintendent of business services, suggested double routing of school buses was the way to go. This is where a bus would be used to take students at one school, which would open earlier, and then use the same bus to take students to another school in the same area, but which opens at a later time.

McClintock said the school district could introduce transportation fees for those students who live beyond required school distances. But he frowned on that idea because Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools won’t be adding such fees.

And there’s not much that can be done with transportation expenses themselves, he added.

With double routing, the school district should be able to have more seats available for all kindergarten students.

The school board will make a final decision on double routing on Nov. 28.

Administration will also do a more in-depth report on other deficit-reducing strategies, including a review of existing services. Some speciality high school classes involving a small number of students could be among those under review.

Board chairman Lawrence Lee said that the central administration office is already on a shoe-string budget so further cutting couldn’t happen. He was “lukewarm” on a hiring freeze — another option that will be investigated.

Since the school population is growing, this could allow the district to freeze rather than reduce its workforce for a period of time and use enrolment growth to help generate additional revenue to reduce the deficit.

The school district may also reduce or freeze the per pupil allocation, which is how the province funds. Current deficits are reducing the operating reserves directly controlled by the board, but most school operating reserves have either held steady or increased.

School trustee Bill Stuebing said the board only has access to a limited range of reserves and these are controlled centrally. The bulk are controlled by schools and this is a substantial amount of cash. The school board could direct the schools to do the same thing that the board has been doing for the last three years, which is draw down reserves as part of budgeting, said Stuebing.

Just Posted

Court to rule on B.C.’s pipeline permit law in crucial case for Trans Mountain

VANCOUVER — A court will rule today if a proposed British Columbia… Continue reading

Theresa May: A prime minister defined and defeated by Brexit

LONDON — Theresa May became prime minister in 2016 with one overriding… Continue reading

SpaceX launches 60 little satellites, 1st of thousands

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has launched 60 little satellites, the first… Continue reading

Cross-Canada corridor concept getting dusted off ahead of election

OTTAWA — The notion of a pan-Canadian corridor dedicated to rail, power… Continue reading

RCMP investigate suspicious package in downtown Red Deer

Part of downtown Red Deer was closed to traffic due to a… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: What to remove from your closet

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

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

O Canada: Hockey hotbed now produces tennis players, too

ROME — It’s typically Canadian that Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca… Continue reading

Proctor back chasing running records after cross-Canada speed attempt

CALGARY — Dave Proctors’ attempted speed record across Canada last summer was… Continue reading

Big names headed to New Mexico to film ‘The Comeback Trail’

SANTA FE, N.M. — Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones… Continue reading

Lawyer: Deal close in Weinstein sexual misconduct lawsuits

NEW YORK — A tentative deal has been reached to settle multiple… Continue reading

Seniors: The unheard melodies

The sights and sounds around us enable us to experience our world.… Continue reading

Police find urn with ashes along bank of Red Deer River

RCMP find urn with ashes along bank of Red Deer River Red… Continue reading

North Vancouver RCMP seek skier whose pole caused brain injury to B.C. teen

VANCOUVER — A North Vancouver family is joining with RCMP to urge… Continue reading

Most Read