Kootenay Lake School District is getting more than $400,000 in new funding for student transportation, superintendent Jeff Jones said last week.
“We are pleased that our application for $419,602 for student transportation investments has been approved by the Ministry of Education,” he said. “This new funding will help mitigate challenging transportation issues and will provide important training for our drivers.
“The funding will also provide more flexibility for school-based decision making to meet new curriculum implementation expectations and provide increased opportunities for students.”
The injection of new money comes following an announcement in the summer that a new Student Transportation Fund of $14.7 million would be available to school districts throughout the province.
“School districts can apply for the funding to help parents with transportation costs and services, whether they use the usual yellow bus program or work with local transit operators,” Education Minister Mike Bernier said at the time.
“The handful of districts that currently charge families a transportation fee for a student’s local or catchment area school must eliminate those fees to be eligible for the funding. All districts need to use the funding for transportation services to be eligible.”
Jones said that in addition to the regular bus routes, the Kootenay Lake student transportation system also provides more than 1,000 trips to schools in support of their programs.
“Our buses travel a combined total of 900,000 km per year,” he said.
The money will be used to create three new bus routes designed to reduce ride times on the district’s most lengthy routes. It will also increase availability of transportation for a wide variety of programs by eliminating the costs of busing from individual school budgets. As well, some will be directed to additional bus driver training.
“As a parent in a rural community, I know about the challenges of getting kids to school on time and then getting them home at the end of the day,” Bernier said. “This funding will help districts provide better bus and transportation services at lower costs to parents.”