Parents are frustrated over reduced bus service at McLurg Elementary School in Regina’s northwest. The biggest concern for parents like Jason Gallant is safety.
“Making my kids walk 1.6 kilometres, I have a 10-year-old and a seven-year-old. Over train tracks and busy streets. It’s pretty horrible,” he said while dropping off his kids.
Gallant isn’t responsible for just his children. His wife runs a home-based daycare and the Gallants bring those kids to school as well.
“As you can see, so many vehicles, so many parents are driving their kids to school. It’s an inconvenience,” Gallant said.
“Especially for people who have to work at 8 o’clock in the morning, so people are supposed to rescheduled everything about work to come and bring their kids to school?” Gallant said.
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In May the Regina Public School Division (RPSD) announced that children who live within a kilometre of their school will no longer be eligible for transportation services. This is part of the division’s plan to make up for a $9.5 million funding shortfall as a result of the provincial budget.
The busing change is expected to save approximately $1.3 million.
A spokesperson from RPSD said in an email that affected parents were contacted in May and information on transportation changes is available on the division website. Currently 4,488 students out of 23,000 ride the bus.
That’s of little comfort for parents driving or walking their kids to school. Victoria Ritco has noticed increased traffic around McLurg and feels it is safest to walk with her young children.
“They’ve got two bus runs, they drop a bunch off earlier and then the second bus run comes right before the school bell rings,” she said.
“A lot of the parents are dropping them off right at that same time so it’s pretty awful.”
The RPSD said that parents with further concerns or questions about the new bus policy should contact their transportation department.