HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — A provincial review of school busing has recommended reducing the maximum distance students must walk before being eligible to ride a bus.
The review, for which consultant Chester Sabean examined provincial regulations and school board busing policies, took eight months to complete and included public input from 569 individuals and organizations.
In his report, Sabean recommends reducing the maximum walking distance from 3.6 kilometers (2.23 miles) to 1.6 kilometers (nearly one mile) for elementary students, and three kilometers (1.86 miles) for secondary students.
Other recommendations include:
School boards retain authority under the regulations to provide courtesy busing where dangerous conditions warrant.
Establishing a limit on the maximum time young children are expected to travel on a school bus.
Younger children should not be picked up before 7 a.m. or dropped off after 5 p.m.
Employing a routing technician specialist at each school board.
Establishing a funding formula based on total enrollment, the number of transported students and other criteria.
Education Minister Karen Casey — who will provide a response to the report this spring — said that her department's staff will take time to assess the financial and operational implications of the report’s recommendations. As a result, there will be no changes to pupil transportation regulations before September 2009.
The report can be viewed in full at www.ednet.ns.ca/events/walkingdistance.