Sooke school bus changes, higher fees possible

Sooke parents could see changes to how their child gets to school once the board of education presents its 2016 budget.

Sooke parents could see changes to how their child gets to school once the board of education presents its 2016 budget.

The school district subsidizes many of its bus routes and needs to look at ways to manage transportation costs and find efficiencies.

The Sooke School District, however, will seek “substantial public input” before any changes are made,” said Bob Phillips, the new board chairman.

It’s not yet clear what form those efficiencies could take, but Phillips said increased fees and changes to transportation services are being considered.

“There will be consultation. Busing is a big issue in this part of the district, and it’s certainly not an option for families living in Shirley, Otter Point or East Sooke,” he said.

In the past, busing was funded by the district. Now parents and the district share the costs.

The busing issue came to a head this fall when school began and demand for transportation outpaced resources available. The district was forced to use spare buses to answer the need.

Last week the board received approval from the Education Ministry to buy four new buses.

Much of the problem is the growth of the district where more than 300 students enrolled in September. To keep up with the demand on bus services, the district was forced to add another route in Sooke.

School trustee Margot Swinburnson said the district needs to look at how it delivers transportation services.

“We need to look forward,” she said.

Perhaps the answer, she said, is some form of partnership with B.C. Transit where there is a sharing of resources, particularly in the area west of Sooke.

Parents have said they don’t mind higher fees for busing if they get good service and there is no untoward on early pick up and late arrivals, Phillips said.

“We really need the parents to tell us what are their goals and aspirations and limits,” he said.

The Sooke School District has an annual operating budget of $97.1 million. The 2016 budget must be approved by May.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edward Milne students clean up Whiffen Spit

Volunteers find styrofoam, cigarette butts and a single shoe

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

Hearing begins into blind community’s complaint against BC Transit, City of Victoria

Complainant says bike lane infrastructure biased against blind pedestrians

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read