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Halifax-area parents concerned about school bus changes, 5 schools lose courtesy stops

Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB) and Stock Transportation sent letters to parents on Monday to tell them about the changes that go into effect on March 19.
Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB) and Stock Transportation sent letters to parents on Monday to tell them about the changes that go into effect on March 19. File/ Global News

Halifax-area parents are upset with school bus changes, including the removal of some courtesy bus stops, that they say are being done without consultation and on short notice.

Parent Shelly Juurlink says it’s not only an inconvenience but a safety issue for small children.

“There is a very real possibility that something bad could happen in what they’re proposing to do,” she said.

Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB) and Stock Transportation sent letters to parents on Monday to tell them about the changes that go into effect on March 19. The information is also found on the school board’s website.

READ: Halifax parents upset with school bus route changes

According to the letter, “many bussing students in the HRSB have been arriving late to class” since the beginning of the school year.

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As a result, they developed a plan with transportation provider Stock Transportation to adjust some bus routes. The changes affect more than 20 schools.

In addition, courtesy stops for students at five schools are being removed from the bus routes.

Those schools are:

  • Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary in Fall River
  • Brookhouse Elementary School in Dartmouth
  • Lockview High School in Fall River
  • Millwood High School in Middle Sackville
  • Sackville Heights Elementary School in Middle Sackville

Under provincial legislation, school boards are responsible for providing transportation for students who live 3.6 kilometres or more from school. Those who live closer than 3.6 kilometres are eligible to receive courtesy bussing, based on availability.

WATCH: ‘No way that’s safe for little kids’: Halifax parents worry about school bus route changes

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‘No way that’s safe for little kids’: Halifax parents worry about school bus route changes – Sep 7, 2017

Juurlink’s five-year-old daughter is a student at Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary School in Fall River who goes to a dayhome after school. She says the dayhome operator simply can’t walk with the other infants in her care for two kilometres each way to pick up the school children.

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As well, Juurlink points out that part of the route from the dayhome to the school does not have sidewalks.

“There are parents that have to make the real decision to quit their jobs so they can pick up their children at two in the afternoon or require them to walk home,” she said.

READ: Stock Transportation agrees to implement changes at NSUARB hearing

Juurlink has started a Facebook page for parents, many of whom share similar concerns.

Additional changes announced by HRSB and Stock Transportation include additional bus routes being added to certain schools and earlier arrival times to give Stock more time between runs.

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