Recent changes to the allocation of school district operating grants means funding for student transportation is being reduced by approximately $541,000 over a three year period.
In order to find the $700,000 Secretary-Treasurer Doug Boyd says is needed to match revenues with expenditures, the idea of charging rural students to use school buses has been proposed.
A motion was approved for the district to look at working with Pimm while exploring other alternatives, including a possible referendum.
“The interesting thing with the motion is the opportunity to also look at the possibility of a referendum rather than going to student fees, and they would like us to explore those possibilities before we finalize a decision as to whether fees need to be implemented,” says Boyd. “It also gave us the timeline of saying that fees won’t be implemented until January at the earliest, if they are to be implemented at all.”
The district will now attempt to work with Pimm to see if a fee for transportation can be avoided all together. However, a fee is not off the table.
“The next step is basically to work with Pat Pimm to see what he has in mind of how we can jointly approach getting ministries reconsideration of the reduction of the dollars that we could put towards transportation,” he says. “In combination with that, we’ll have to be looking at if we do have to implement the fee, then what are the ramifications, the implementation processes and things we have to consider.”
One of the issues working against School District 60 is a limited time frame given that it is unknown at this point who will be looking over education in the province is unknown.
“From our understanding, the new caucus will be formed in the early part of June because we can only assume that the minister, when the writ was dropped may be the same minister but we don’t know that for sure,” Boyd says. “Until that’s the case, who really do we approach? So that’s what we’re looking at.”