You are on page 1of 5

School District No.

59 (Peace River South)

Review of SD#59 School Bus Transportation System (Updated June 19, 2013)
Under  a  new  funding  formula,  School  District  #59’s  transportation  funding  has  been  reduced   by $750,000. This is a 23% reduction to the $3.3 million we have been receiving. The reduction is being phased in over 3 years starting with the 2012/13 school year. Given the magnitude of the cuts, the district engaged a consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of its transportation services with a focus on identifying opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services to realize savings in the operation. The District reviewed these findings through a public consultation process. At the same time, a higher than anticipated enrolment decrease has resulted in a temporary increase in Funding Protection income for the District. This has allowed the Board to defer some of the proposed measures. The following document contains the decisions made at the June 19, 2013 Board meeting (changes from the previous submission are identified in red):

Phase 1 – Implemented September 2012 (Implemented-no change from previously approved)
1. Increased monthly fees to private schools as follows: Previous Revised Single Student $20 $30 Family $50 $75 We currently earn $30,000 per year from these fees, and the increase will generate an estimated additional $15,000. 2. We began taking attendance of all students riding our busses, and will no longer maintain route deviations for student riding less than 60% of the school days. Students riding less that this will still be able to ride, but will have to access the service on existing routes. No transportation assistance funds will be available to these students. 3. No new route deviations for students not riding to their catchment area school. This will include French immersion students. These students will still be able to ride, but will have to access the bus on existing routes. No transportation assistance funds will be available to these students. 4. Cancelled Rolla Bus Run #43. We had four bus runs in the Rolla area with very few students. We cancelled bus #43 and revising the remaining runs to compensate. This saved an estimated $43,500.

11600-7th Street, Dawson Creek, B.C. V1G 4R8 Phone: (250) 782-8571 Fax: (250) 782-3204 www.sd59.bc.ca

Phase 2 – Approved for Implementation September 2013
1. Annual review of route extensions. Under our current policy route extensions are granted as follows: 1 Student – up to 3.2 km 2 Students – up to 4.8 km 3 Students – up to 6.4 km 4 Students – up to 8.0 km, etc. In the past, many route extensions were maintained even after the number of students changed due to graduation or other circumstances. Under this change, when a student is no longer riding, the extension would be reviewed for eligibility. When circumstances no longer warrant a route extension (e.g.; when a family of 4 children on a route extension is reduced to 2 over time, due to graduations), they may be cancelled, effective the following September. Transportation assistance will be available to these families.

Cancellation of route extensions will not begin taking effect until September 2014, except in instances of low ridership. District staff will utilize the 2013/14 school year to identify and notify families impacted.
2. Fees will be charged for Chetwynd in-town bussing. Fees charged will be $20 per month and $50 per family. Currently, high school students are provided free bussing from 3 locations in town to the high school from November 1st to March 31st. Elementary students are provided free bussing between school locations for the full school year. This service has been offered in Chetwynd because there is no public transit available to students. However, in Dawson Creek, where there is public transit, students must pay for the service. 3. No route deviations for students not riding to their catchment area school. This will include French immersion students. These students will still be able to ride the bus, but will have to access the service on existing routes. No transportation assistance funds will be available to these students. This will now apply to all existing students.

Phase 3 – Proposed For Implementation September 2013
1. Eliminate five (5) bus runs (annual savings $239,400): a. Fellers Heights – 2 routes b. Tate Creek – 2 routes c. Route 49 – includes Alberta students. This will require negotiations with Northlands School District.

The changes to the Tate Creek bus runs are deferred pending the outcome of the rural school review taking place during the 2013/14 school year. As well, 11600-7th Street, Dawson Creek, B.C. V1G 4R8 Phone: (250) 782-8571 Fax: (250) 782-3204 www.sd59.bc.ca

one of the four Mcleod area bus runs will be eliminated in order to take advantage of a driver retirement.
2. Eliminate Route #57 dual credit students - Chetwynd to Dawson (Annual savings $95,553). Currently there is an average of 6 students riding this bus each day. This would not take effect until February 2014 so as not to impact students currently in programs. Discussions are currently underway with Northern Lights College and industry to identify funding partners for maintaining this bus run. Pending the outcome of these negotiations, this run will be extended for a further year to February 2015. 3. Incorporate Wash Bay position into existing underutilized bus runs ($20,000). We are required to pay drivers for a minimum of 4 hours per day regardless of the length of their run. We propose eliminating the 4-hour per day Wash Bay position by using drivers with underutilized hours. 4. Transfer more of the student discipline issues to school administration. This is better handled  by  Administrators  who  are  trained  in  this  area.    Also,  one  of  the  consultant’s   recommendations was to provide the Transportation Manager with more resources so that he can spend more time analyzing routes.

Phase 4 – Proposed For Implementation September 2014?
The Board has decided to hold a referendum in October 2014 to raise the funding shortfall through local rural taxation.    According  to  Section  112  of  the  School  Act,  “A   board  may  …  authorize  the  holding  of  a  referendum  to  obtain  the  approval  of  the   electors for any money that the board wishes to raise for the next fiscal year by residential  taxes.”    Raising  $400,000 in tax revenue in Regional District areas D and E would result in a tax increase of approximately $18 per year on a property assessed at $300,000. If the referundum is unsuccessful the following measures or combinations of measures will be required to meet the shortfall:
1. Further restrict bus service, and move to a more transit-style (centralized pick up and drop off) routing structure. This would involve increasing walk distances to and from bus stops, increasing route extension limits and reducing rider eligibility. This would have a severe impact on service. 2. Charge transportation fees to students riding to schools outside their catchment areas. This would impact approximately 230 students and, in addition to generating revenue, would encourage catchment area school attendance.

11600-7th Street, Dawson Creek, B.C. V1G 4R8 Phone: (250) 782-8571 Fax: (250) 782-3204 www.sd59.bc.ca

3. Further increase fees to private school and college students. A 50% increase was implemented in September 2012. A 10% increase would generate approximately $4,000 in revenue. 4. Institute a rider fee structure for all students. To generate $400,000 per year we would have to charge approximately $40 per student per month. This calculation assumes that some families would not be able to pay.

5. Close some rural schools. In addition to saving transportation costs, this would also save other operating costs. 6. Consider going to a four-day school week at rural schools. Currently, rural school morning start times allow busses to drop students at rural schools in the morning and then continue on and drop students at town schools. However, this is not possible in the evenings as a rural school day ends earlier than in-town schools. This means many routes have two bus runs in the afternoon; one for the rural school students and one for the town school students. By going to a four-day week, rural school instructional times could be extended and the week shortened. Thus, the same busses could transport town and rural school students. It would also reduce the amount of time rural school students spend riding the bus each week. This design would entail a separate Calendar approval process for those rural schools effected.

11600-7th Street, Dawson Creek, B.C. V1G 4R8 Phone: (250) 782-8571 Fax: (250) 782-3204 www.sd59.bc.ca

School District No.59 (PRS)

[5]