Meadowbrook parents have been raising concerns about the safety of the bus stop on Thompson Road in the rural area north of Kimberley. One of the points they raised is that there were bussing concerns earlier in the year, when students at the ski hill, Skookumchuk and Forest Crowne potentially had to walk quite a distance to school. Those concerns appear to have been dealt with, says parent Sandy Luker
However, School District No. 6 Superintendent Paul Carriere says says every situation is different.
“Regarding bus service at the ski hill, this was not about “solving” a problem relating to a particular transportation situation. It is about the Board’s Policy 3600 (Transportation of Students on Regular School Bus Routes),” Carriere said.“After hearing a presentation from a parent in Golden regarding there being no bus service to Harrogate, which is 16 Km south of Parson (the nearest bust stop), the Board asked the Policy Committee to consider revisions to the Policy that would enhance service to the students in our District who are living the greatest distances from their schools, i.e. there was a desire of the Board to consider a Policy change that may help the most rural families in SD6.
“The Policy Committee reviewed Policy language, current bussing information, and costs. Then they proposed two key changes: one was to increase the transportation assistance allowance for families from $.26 per km to $.40 per km. This is an allowance paid to families that are eligible for bus service under the policy but who live in an area where bus service is not practical. The second thing was to change the threshold where bus service is cancelled. “Specifically, the policy stated that if the cost of paying transportation assistance to families on a route was more than 20 per cent cheaper than running bus service, then the bus would be cancelled and transportation assistance paid. That threshold was changed from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. The recommended changes were brought before the Board in October and November and the three necessary readings to make the changes happened over those two meetings. The result of this change is that a number of rural areas that were either not eligible for bus service before, or were at one time and became ineligible because of a decrease in the number of students, are now eligible.
“The Board effected the Policy changes on January 2, 2018. That is when the services to the Ski Hill, Skookumchuk, and St. Mary’s Lake Road were added, in the Kimberley area. There were other services added in the Invermere and Golden area as well.
“Nothing has changed regarding Forest Crowne. There is bus service to Forest Crowne for the eligible riders who attend McKim and Selkirk. Students living in Forest Crowne who attend Marysville Elementary are closer than 4km to the school and therefore are not “eligible riders” under the Policy. However, they can receive a courtesy ride to Marysville since there is space on the bus and it needs to go in that direction to pick up students from the Marysville area who attend McKim and Selkirk. Parents just need to apply to the District for this service.”