The Ministry of Education has approved the Prince Rupert School District’s (SD52) transportation funding application from this past August.
Now set in stone, the late funds announced by the ministry specifically for student transportation will offer reinstated bus service to the communities of Port Edward and Metlakatla with one bus to and from school each day, reduced bus pass fare for remaining Prince Rupert students which takes $10 off from a monthly student pass of $40 to $30, and more than $17,000 to help pay bus pass fare for low-income families and fund school trips.
The last-minute funding announcement by the province drew criticism from the school board, who made $2.4 million in budget cuts in April, including the entire student transportation budget, minus the students with special needs bussing services, to keep the cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. The $85,000 First Canada school bus contract will be held by the District of Port Edward.
“We are still not in the transportation business,” said board chair Tina Last in September.
In total, $117,597 was approved for SD52 and the money allocated to each district is based on a formula tied to the ministry’s “student location factor used to determine the rural makeup of a school district” a province press release stated.“As a parent in a rural community, I know first-hand the work involved in getting kids to and from school. The Student Transportation Fund will make student transportation more accessible and affordable for students and families and address the challenges that districts face – whether it’s the yellow bus program or working with local transit operators,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education.