FREDERICTON, New Brunswick — A new policy from the New Brunswick government states that school districts have the responsibility for managing pupil transportation, including the authority to share services with another district or to contract out.
Also, the provincial government said in a press release that it will withdraw a reference question on the subject that had been submitted to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick.
According to CBC News, the government said last year that it wanted the Court of Appeal to clarify whether dual bus systems for English and French school systems were required by the Constitution.
“We hoped to have certainty on this matter from the court, but it has been clear in the court’s rulings to date that they are hesitant to rule on the reference question,” Brian Kenny, education and early childhood development minister, said in the press release. “As the Supreme Court has ruled that minority language parents and their representatives have the right of management and control of their children’s education, we will implement a new policy that will clarify that pupil transportation rests clearly in the hands of the district education councils, which are elected by the public, including parents.”
New Brunswick has four anglophone (English-speaking) school districts and three francophone (French-speaking) districts.
The new policy states that the district education councils have the ability to operate their own pupil transportation services, to share services with other districts, or to engage private transportation providers. The government is also repealing a requirement for districts to seek government approval to enter into contracts for pupil transportation.
“In keeping with our commitment to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation over the implementation of New Brunswick’s official language legislation, the government submitted a reference question to the court of appeal to seek clarity from the court if there are any constitutional obligations around pupil transportation,” Kenny said. “We are hopeful that this policy, Policy 514, will be acceptable to all parties.”
New Brunswick’s new policy on pupil transportation is available here.