The Vernon School District will get $130,629 for a new 76-passenger school bus. - Morning Star file photo

Proposed North Okanagan school bus changes back on board

Transportation adjustments will likely affect all riders

Changes to school busing which will likely affect all riders are in neutral.

The Vernon School District will review adjustments to the transportation policy at its Jan. 20 meeting. Families can send their feedback to be considered prior to the meeting.

If approved, the new plans will roll out in the 2021/22 school year.

“Proposed changes will likely affect all registered riders,” secretary treasurer Sterling Olson said.

The changes include:

  • riders needing to be registered and have transportation fees paid prior to June 30 in order to be eligible to ride the following year
  • A transportation fee may be charged for each route assigned
  • Students enrolled in schools outside their catchment area school are not provided transportation as eligible riders (unless identified). They may access buses as courtesy riders
  • Eligible riders include Montessori, French immersion, academy of inquiry and adventure Okanagan at Clarence Fulton and the forestry program at Charles Bloom
  • User fees established by May of each year

The school district initiated changes several years ago which resulted in reductions over the years impacting some.

“The last of these changes identified was to eliminate bus routes/runs not required as per policy and regulation which would affect many students,” Olson’s report reads.

READ MORE: School bus cuts feared for Vernon students

The largest change would be for Beairsto students, who are currently considered courtesy riders, but would be considered eligible.

The current registration fee, which is $25, could also change.

“The board may choose to increase the fee you pay to offset the cost of changes to the transportation services for programs of choice like French immersion.”

The average cost per student is approximately $900 per year for the school district to provide transporation. The board allocates approximately $2 million in operating funds towards transportation and collects approximately $160,000 from rider fees.

The news costs with these changes still have to be determined, but Olson said it’s likely the cost per student will be greater as students will be picked up from across the district to get to a program of choice, opposed to just within a defined catchment area.

If increased operating funds are used to cover the added expense, that would take away from other programs and services.

On top of the registration fee, courtesy riders are charged an additional $175.

“If, for example, the costs of these increased services levels were $500,000, this would require a rider fee of $300 per student, including the registration fee,” Olson said.

While that number seems steep for Vernon parents, it is in line with what Kelowna charges, according to Olson’s report.

Courtesy riders are those who live within 2.4 kilometres of their school (as it is expected that they can walk or ride their bike to school). Bus seats are reserved first for eligible riders and second for courtesy riders based on youngest children first and furthest home-to-school distance.

READ MORE: Power outage closes Vernon, Lumby schools


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

SchoolsTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Sanders was dressed for the cold weather in Penticton Friday, as he made time to check out one of the city’s iconic landmarks. (Parkers Chrysler / Facebook)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders spotted in Penticton

Sanders seems to have developed a taste for local craft beer

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

(Oliver Fire Dept. / Facebook)
It takes a town to build a truck: The Oliver Fire Department gets creative

Ingenuity and local connections played an important role in the upgrading fire truck

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Historic poem is appropriate for new U.S. president

In 1941, Roosevelt made reference to poem by Longfellow

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘It’s incredibly upsetting’: Kelowna health care worker demands WestJet ticket refund

Kelowna woman has been waiting almost a year for a refund on her Kelowna to Edmonton flight

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Most Read