FORT ST. JOHN, British Columbia — Families with students in rural areas here won’t have to pay a school bus fee next year, thanks to a new allocation of funding from the regional government.
The Peace River Regional District, which covers a large area in northern British Columbia, recently decided to make a one-time funding allocation of $377,536 to go toward the cost of transporting School District 60’s rural students in the 2014-15 school year.
The funds will be used for busing 2,168 students in three areas.
“The Peace River Regional District electoral area directors are pleased to announce the funding needed to assist School District 60 in the provision of transportation for our rural students for the 2014-15 school year,” said Karen Goodings, an electoral area director and chair of the Peace River Regional District. “The regional district will continue to work with trustees and school parent advisory committees to advocate to the provincial government to look at the busing formula for the north.”
Due to a shortfall in transportation funding from the British Columbia Ministry of Education, School District 60 had decided to implement a transportation fee starting in September. The fee was to start at $200 per student, with discounts for families with three or more bus riders.
With the new allocation of funding from the Peace River Regional District, School District 60 announced that it would reimburse parents who have already paid the fee.
Jaret Thompson, chair of the School District 60 board, expressed board members’ appreciation for the financial support from Peace River Regional District’s electoral area directors.
“We would like to thank the directors for this decisive action,” Thompson said, “and we look forward to working collectively to have the Ministry of Education address the financial shortfall in transportation and other areas in our education system.”