SD23 busing situation ‘not sorted out yet’: school board

Students walking long distances to school, across highways and in locations with no sidewalks

New runs, a new school and late registrations are being blamed by SD23 officials for busing issues throughout the school district.

A school board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, saw several disgruntled parents show up to hear how the district plans to deal with the several students still without transportation going into the third week of the new school year.

Several students are having to walk long distances to school, including some walking across highways and in locations with no sidewalks.

“We did not do a very good job of communicating with parents,” said Moyra Baxter, chairperson of the Central Okanagan School Board.

“We realize this year is very unusual, very upsetting for parents and people at the meeting expressed their concerns. We had quite a lot of input last night and we’re still trying to move forward and get everything sorted out this year.”

READ MORE: ‘It hasn’t gone well’: Kelowna Mayor on speculation tax

READ MORE: Man shot by RCMP in Bear Creek Provincial Park; police watchdog investigating

Baxter said there still may be a few run changes and bus stop changes as they attempt to remedy the situation.

“Our transportation system does need to be looked at in the big picture of how we allocate funds within our district,” she said.

“We will be doing that over the next few months through surveys and public consultations. We’ll have to come to some decisions before the spring when we move into next year’s registrations so we don’t have the same issue.”

Baxter also said the district is not obliged to provide any busing at all but they have been committed to providing the best service that they can.

“No matter what we do, there will always be unhappy people,” she said.

She said the majority of affected riders are “courtesy riders” who live within 4 km of school for elementary students and 4.8 km for those in junior high and high school. She said almost all who live outside of those boundaries are on buses.

Parents in the community have described the situation as upsetting, confusing and inconvenient.

“Many of the roads the students are asked to walk, are in rural areas where there are no sidewalks, no street lighting, and where there will be snowbanks in the winter,” wrote concerned parent Richard Shepherd in a letter to the Capital News.

“I would have assumed that the safety of students would be the top priority of school officials. Do we have to wait until there is a tragic accident?”

Even those who were placed on buses are upset with how the situation has played out.

One West Kelowna mother said her daughter’s original stop was removed and now she’s walking across Highway 97 on the shoulder of a road with no sidewalk to get to her bus stop.

“I’ve been calling the transportation office for four weeks now and have gotten no response,” she said. “The biggest concern myself and other parents have is the lack of communication from the transportation department.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Bear strolls into Okangan homeowner’s living room

Conservation officers are searching for the bear, which entered a home in the Foothills area

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Youth advocacy group pulls out of Vernon Black Lives Matter protest

Earth Strike Vernon pulled its support after concerns raised about Kelowna, Vernon protests

‘I just felt I had to do something’: Vernon Black Lives Matter protest organizer

Young woman organizes peaceful protest to take place next week at Vernon courthouse

Most Read