Education ministry offers new school bus funds

$14.7 million fund requires school districts to drop bus fees charged to parents

B.C. school districts have until Sept. 30 to apply for a new $14.7 million fund to assist with student bus service.

Education Minister Mike Bernier announced the fund Wednesday. It requires districts to submit a plan on how the money will be used to “boost transportation services,” by adding new routes, improving disability access and bus stops or improving access to public transit.

But the criteria also include “funding existing transportation services and inviting the savings into enhanced student services,” according to the ministry statement. That would make the grant effectively part of the district’s general revenue.

To qualify, school districts would have to drop fees charged to parents for school bus service. Fees have been charged in Central Okanagan, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge, Peace River North, Sooke, Saanich and Cowichan school districts.

It’s the third funding injection for schools in recent months. As the school year wound down in June, Bernier announced another $2 million fund where districts could apply to keep rural schools open that were scheduled to be closed.

Bernier also announced this spring he was reinstating $25 million in administration savings required from districts. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows had eliminated its school bus service and planned to use the administrative fund to bring it back on a trial basis, with fees increased from $215 per student to $416.

Abbotsford school district voted this spring to increase its fees by $100 to $400 per student and $600 per family.

The school bus funding formula is weighted towards districts with large rural areas. Cariboo-Chilcotin is eligible for the largest amount at $739,024, followed by Prince George at $687,663, Kamloops-Thompson at $666,817, Central Okanagan at $600,000, Coast Mountains at $557,786, North Okanagan-Shuswap at $561, 925 and Nechako Lakes at $503,247.

School bus funding by district:

5 Southeast Kootenay – $361,459

6 Rocky Mountain – $369,399

8 Kootenay Lake – $419,602

10 Arrow Lakes – $42,675

19 Revelstoke – $49,847

20 Kootenay-Columbia – $242,977

22 Vernon – $361,094

23 Central Okanagan – $600,000

27 Cariboo-Chilcotin – $739,024

28 Quesnel – $274,209

33 Chilliwack – $329,456

34 Abbotsford – $253,969

35 Langley – $260,000

36 Surrey – $72,999

37 Delta – $41,933

38 Richmond – $21,608

39 Vancouver – $53,423

40 New Westminster – $6,073

41 Burnaby – $24,841

42 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows  – $185,990

43 Coquitlam – $81,641

44 North Vancouver – $40,566

45 West Vancouver – $84,722

46 Sunshine Coast – $380,465

47 Powell River – $91,754

48 Sea to Sky – $265,534

49 Central Coast – $80,277

50 Haida Gwaii – $149,851

51 Boundary – $153,588

52 Prince Rupert – $117,597

53 Okanagan Similkameen – $209,099

54 Bulkley Valley – $163,737

57 Prince George – $687,663

58 Nicola-Similkameen – $170,292

59 Peace River South – $441,458

60 Peace River North – $425,785

61 Greater Victoria – 20,027

62 Sooke – $358,365

63 Saanich – $280,000

64 Gulf Islands -$328,264

67 Okanagan Skaha – $167,035

68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith – $244,630

69 Qualicum – $426,341

70 Alberni – $71,717

71 Comox Valley – $421,375

72 Campbell River – $316,860

73 Kamloops/Thompson – $666,817

74 Gold Trail – $366,932

75 Mission – $188,900

78 Fraser-Cascade – $184,576

79 Cowichan Valley – $283,524

81 Fort Nelson – $32,744

82 Coast Mountains – $557,786

83 North Okanagan-Shuswap – $561,925

84 Vancouver Island West – $57,593

85 Vancouver Island North – $118,179

87 Stikine – $51,181

91 Nechako Lakes – $503,247

92 Nisga’a – $130,091

93 Conseil scolaire francophone – $150,415

 

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