Setting the Record straight on Transportation – October 17th, 2013

There seems to be a great deal of misinformation out there. CBE transportation fees to parents did not increase this year.

Here is a link to how CBE transportation fees are calculated :

Transportation of students is subsidized by provincial grants that allot funding based on a distance of student residence being 2.4 kilometers from the community school. Given CBE parental expectations of levels of service and access, the costs exceed the provincial grants. Even with all the efficiencies introduced, in terms of dual routing, congregated bus stops for programs of choice, walk zones, and the use of transit for junior high students, CBE is still facing an $8.7 million shortfall between its grants and actual costs.

The provincial budget this spring removed the fuel price contingency funding from transportation which was a loss of several millions of dollars from CBE’s transportation budget.  The shortfall between service costs and provincial subsidies is covered by charging transportation fees.

Based on an extensive community engagement process two years ago, the CBE has several filters that influence the transportation budget:

  1. Provide central waivers for families who cannot afford the fees;
  2. Provide some transportation access to programs of choice;
  3. Each student utilizing the service will pay the same fee;
  4. Limit the use of instructional dollars to subsidize transportation.

The provincial government held a review of the 25 year old metro transportation formula with a promise of updating it to reflect current reality. They decided they needed to collect data to inform the decisions – that was five years ago. I have consistently raised this issue at provincial meetings and with several Ministers. In a perfect world, CBE should not have to charge transportation fees for students. What needs to change is the provincial metro transportation formula which was promised several years. We need a different formula that recognizes current needs and expectations.

If the formula does not change, the question becomes two-part: what kind of service level does CBE provide to students, and what fees are parents willing to pay for their student to be bussed to school?

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