DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Education Minister Mike Bernier says that province is investing $14.7 million for the new Student Transportation Fund, including a potential $900,000 for the Peace Region.
Bernier made the announcement alongside school district officials today at the Dawson Creek school board office. “This funding will help districts provide better bus and transportation services at lower costs to parents,” said Bernier.
Under the funding announcement’s criteria, the Peace River North School District will be eligible to receive up to $425,785, while Peace River South district could get up to $441,458. Bernier also says the funding is on-going, not a one time deal.
In order to be eligible for the funding, districts that currently charge parents to subsidize school bus fees must eliminate those fees, and use the funding for transportation services.
“I am extremely pleased that Minister Bernier and the ministry have found a way to fund busing for the constituents in my riding,” said Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm. “This is an issue that I have been working very hard on and I am extremely pleased we have got it over the goal line.”
School District 60 board chair Ida Campbell welcomed the announcement, saying: “We’ve been working on this issue for a long time and this is great news for parents. Transportation is vitally important in a rural area like ours and we are excited to be able to eliminate fees for bussing thanks to this money from the provincial government.”
For those parents in SD 60, they will not have to pay for their kids to ride the bus anymore. In an interview with Energeticcity.ca, Bernier said that those who paid will get a refund, and those who haven’t paid yet will not have to pay.
In order to be eligible, districts must submit a plan to the Ministry of Education by September 30th that outlines how the funding will be allocated. The amount of funding each school district could get is based on a formula tied to the Ministry of Education’s student location factor. Districts will also be required to report back on the outcomes and the benefits they achieved as a result of the funding.