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Prairie South School Division cuts bus service from Briercrest to Moose Jaw

Parents in the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) could have to change their daily routines, as the PSSD school board considers cancelling bus service from Briercrest, Sask. to Moose Jaw, starting this fall. Marney Blunt / Global News

Parents in the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) could have to change their daily routines, as the PSSD school board considers cancelling bus service from Briercrest, Sask. to Moose Jaw, starting this fall.

“As of right now, they have sent us a letter saying my two children will be allowed to take the bus from Moose Jaw, but I need to take them to the nearest alternate pickup site,” Briercrest resident Stephanie Funke said.

“Which is about three kilometres out of town here, and then I will have to pick them up at the end of the day.”

Funke said when her two-year-old daughter is school age, she will have to go to neighbouring town Avonlea, Sask. for school.

“The biggest thing is separating our children,” her husband Justin Funke added.

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“There’s going to be one child 40 kilometres to the south, one child 40 kilometres to the north. So they’re basically going to be an hour apart. We won’t be able to attend Christmas concerts if they happen in the same night. It poses a big inconvenience with family life,” he said.

The Funke’s signed a petition with other Briercrest residents, and presented their concerns to the school board Tuesday.

Board members say it’s a division-wide issue, stemming from a $4.5 million provincial government budget cut.

The school board also noted that Briercrest is a dual catchment area, with buses running to Moose Jaw and Avonlea as well.

“We had several small communities in the division where we had two buses going into an area,” said Shawn Davidson, the Chair of the Prairie South Board of Education. “So one bus would go into a community and go one way, and the other (bus) would go the other way. In Briercrest, there’s not a whole lot of extra miles going in, but in other communities, that’s not the case. We’re putting on a lot of extra miles to accommodate that sort of arrangement.”

The PSSD are hoping to save approximately $80,000 in transportation costs. Davidson said it’s the equivalent to saving one teaching position.

In a closed meeting Tuesday evening, the school board voted to cancel bus service to Briercrest. But Davidson noted that students will still be able to attend school in Moose Jaw, but parents will be responsible for finding an alternative transportation.

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