Let’s hope the elimination of bus fees lasts

It’s great that in-catchment busing fees for students in the Cowichan Valley are being eliminated this year.

It’s great that in-catchment busing fees for students in the Cowichan Valley are being eliminated this year.

Physically being able to get to school is of fundamental importance to all children.

Our Canadian society is predicated on the idea that every child is entitled to an education; in fact every child is required to get schooling up to a certain age.

It underpins everything — from the idea that we are all equal as citizens to the responsibility of democratically electing our governments on all levels, from municipal to provincial and federal.

Our culture values knowledge, and education is how we gain much of that knowledge.

Knowledge gives us a chance to advance in life. Without it we would have only the fickle hand of luck to ever improve our own circumstances.

That’s not to say that we live in a perfect system where hard work, intelligence in all forms and knowledge are automatically rewarded as they should be and luck holds no sway. We don’t.

Life is much harder for some than for others. Aptitudes, cultural values of the day (sometimes skewed) and the economic circumstances we are born into all play roles in our lives, fair or not. Then there are the people who just seem to either be cursed or touched by the hand of good fortune.

But education at least gives us a chance to shape our own futures.

For most people, being able to get to school seems like a fairly small thing. If the kids can’t walk, a parent can provide a car ride to the front doors (or around the corner if they’re of an age when they don’t want to be seen with mom and dad).

But for some this is a big obstacle to overcome. Perhaps mom and dad don’t have a vehicle. Busing kids to school is the way we’ve addressed this issue. We don’t live in an urban area where municipal busing is adequate to serve the purpose.

A few years ago, as school district budgets got tighter and tighter, school board trustees were forced to make the unpalatable choice to initiate fees for this service.

It was just one of the key areas where funding has not kept up with rising costs for school districts.

So it’s great to see the province finally coming up with some money to address this bite out of parents’ pockets.

We just hope that said funding remains available after the provincial election is over next year. They claim it will be, but we’ll believe it when it’s still there in three years.

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