Central Okanagan school bus fees reduced

Student bus rider fee drops from $250 to $200 for 2018-19 school year

Central Okanagan parents will get a break in student school bus rider fees this year while the school board will look at adding new routes to the service.

Those opportunities have resulted from a $600,000 commitment by the ministry of education for bus transportation subsidization costs and setting a $200 annual fee for each bus rider effective July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.

Last year, the school bus rider fee was $250.

School board chair Moyra Baxter said since 2005, the school district supported an equitable transportation fee structure where students were charged fees that ranged from $100 to $250 annually.

In 2016, the education ministry provided an additional $600,000 in transportation funding with the restriction that the funding be applied to eliminate fees for eligible families, those who live beyond the 4.6-kilometre distance to their catchment area school.

Baxter said the school board argued that policy limitation, saying that in rural areas and on the Westside, the distance restriction was not fair for students living on streets with no sidewalks or having to cross major highways.

“That was under the old government in 2016. Now we have a new government and at least for this year they have said you still get the $600,000 and the restrictions to how it is applied have been lifted,” Baxter said.

As a result, the school district budgeted for a net profit of $190,000, which Baxter says will give the school board flexibility to expand the bus service.

“The board is going to have to have a long, hard discussion about how to move forward but we want to bring on more bus routes where there is a demand,” Baxter said. “If we can get fewer parents having to drop off and pick up their kids at a given school, that would be a good thing.”

That demand, she said, is derived from adding bus transportation for Grade 6 entry French Immersion students at Glenrosa Middle School in West Kelowna, transferring reconfigured Grade 9 students from Glenrosa to Mount Boucherie for secondary school programs, new routes in Peachland and to Constable Neil Bruce Middle School in West Kelowna, and for students enrolled in special school district education programs or courses offered at one particular school.

“Certainly with French Immersion, it’s an issue as we want to provide access for students who live near the bridge to get across (West Kelowna) to access the school. If we are going to offer a program like this, we need to ensure students who want to enrol can access it,” she said.

Baxter said the fee structure has also shown that parents respect the system more, rather than having students outside the 4.6 km range not have to pay.

“What happens is a parent will say that’s great, when it snows I can put my child on the bus and not worry about getting them to school on a given day, but otherwise the seat remains empty. I think parents take it more seriously as a service when there is a fee,” she said.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna golf course ready and open for spring business

Two Eagles Golf Course opened Saturday, more to come

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA hopes annual climb will promote peace

MLA Norm Letnick’s 5th Annual Spring Climb for Health & World Peace is April 6

Possible assault to bus driver in Kelowna

A minor bus crash was reported just after 8 p.m. Friday night

Car crash nearly sends car over embankment in West Kelowna

RCMP search for driver of alleged stolen vehicle that caused crash

Update: Highway 3 reopened following rockslide near Keremeos

The slide occurred Friday March 22, at about 8 p.m. between Red Bridge and Standing Rock

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Letter: Stop raising the minimum wage

To the editor: The government is looking for ways to put more… Continue reading

Letter: Immigration will not help other countries, or our own

To the editor: Firearms are not the culprit in all those massive… Continue reading

Letter: Sprawl destroying natural landscape

To the editor: I agree with the assessment by Ian Pooley in… Continue reading

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Most Read