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SD 20 approves fees for riding school bus

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
May 19th, 2016

Not even SD 20 trustees were happy about voting in favour of user-fees for school busing, according to Trail trustee Toni Driutti, after the board approved the fees at their regular meeting Monday evening.

Driutti pointed to decreasing ministry funding and wage increases the ministry negotiated but isn’t funding, as the reason for the controversial move.

“We’ve already closed schools – we can’t do that anymore,” she said. “We’ve cut supply budgets, like computers in the classrooms, we’ve got bare-bones custodial staff and bus drivers.”

She said something simply had to give – and this was what the board settled on.

She said offering a monthly payment plan instead of requiring a lump sum may ease the bite somewhat.
“We’re hoping that could help,” she said. “I’m also really glad we have a hardship clause in there – that made me feel a little better about it.”

Driutti said she things things are going to get worse before they get better.

“It’s become very difficult for us to budget and to balance the budget. Every year, we’re struggling more, and every year we’re going to fall more behind,” she said, adding she hopes the upcoming provincial election might create more will to fund education, thus offering some relief. “It’s going to be an election year (soon), but right now, we’re just not getting the funding.

“It was sad that we have come to that. We are a public education, and we should be funded publicly – all the services,” she said.

The fee structure includes discounts for early registration and penalties for late registration, but is basically $200 per child, per year, capping at $500 for three or more children. A 10-month payment plan is available, but only to those who register and pay online between June16 and July 31, 2016.

Those seeking to have their fees waived can go to the SD20 website (www.sd20.bc.ca) under Transportation for the waiver process and request form. To qualify for having the bussing fees waived, applicants will need to bring in their tax forms to demonstrate that their combined gross household

income is below: two people: $19,966; three people: $24,545; four people: $29,802; five people:$33,800; six people: $38,122; and seven or more people: $42,443.

No discounts are available for partial-year busing or for students who only travel one way. Individual ride tickets will not be available.

For more information, visit https://www.sd20.bc.ca/transportation.html

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