Families in the Central Okanagan school district will no longer pay fees for students riding school buses within their schools’ catchment area thanks to $600,000 in funding under the new provincial Student Transportation Fund.
Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson announced today on behalf of Education Minister Mike Bernier that the Central Okanagan school district will use the new funding to eliminate bus riding fees for all eligible student riders, including students with special needs who ride the bus for longer distances.
The “official announcement” is another announcement of an announcement that already took place in August of this year, as reported by the Kelowna Capital News at the time.
Central Okanagan Public Schools met in mid-September to officially move forward with the new transportation plan after the government allocated the money in the summer.
“This new fund puts money back in parents’ pockets by eliminating bus fees, meaning they can use those funds for other family priorities,” said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson.
“This fund was made possible through our government’s strong mandate for prudent fiscal management.”
For some families it will be a big savings. For one child, fees start at around $250 and bus fees for four or more children started at $750.
School districts had the opportunity to apply for the Student Transportation Fund from Aug. 10 to Sept. 30, this year. To be eligible for funding, districts had to submit a plan to the Ministry of Education outlining how they will use the funding to enhance transportation services for students and families.
The amount of funding a district is eligible for is based on a formula tied to the ministry’s student location factor, which is used to determine the rural makeup of a school district. Districts will be required to report back on the outcomes and benefits they achieve as a result of the funding.
The new $14.7-million Student Transportation Fund was announced in August to help school districts provide affordable and accessible transportation for B.C. families.