TORONTO — Student transportation for the coming school year will not be cut by $2.45 million as planned, the Toronto Catholic District School Board decided on Monday.
The move, made in a special board meeting, rescinds an earlier decision to cut transportation spending by that amount by eliminating non-qualifying school bus routes and making other transportation expenditure reductions.
The major change under the previously approved plan would have been discontinuing school bus service for students who live less than 1.5 km (just under a mile) from school. That prompted an outcry from parents, which led the Toronto Catholic District School Board to reconsider.
“School bus service and all other transportation-related expenditures will remain unchanged for the 2016-2017 school year,” the board said in a statement. “We thank everyone who took the time to call, email, and make personal delegations to the board to discuss the transportation changes.”
With the bus service cuts now off the table, the district is left with a transportation operating deficit of $9.1 million. The Education Act of Ontario requires school boards to submit a balanced budget, which the Toronto Catholic District School Board had done at its June 2 meeting. That total district budget of $1.078 billion for 2016-17 had included a total of $16.4 million in spending reductions, $2.45 million of which were the transportation cuts.
“With the decision to reinstate transportation, the board will need to achieve the $2.45 million by finding in-year savings elsewhere,” the board statement said.