The Central Okanagan school district is consulting with the community on the future of its transportation system.
Currently, the district allocates $3.1 million to its transportation budget. It says some of that money could be used elsewhere, such as educational support.
The review will span three months, finishing in February, when the final recommendations will be made to a policy committee. The board of education will review the final recommendations, then make decisions on policies and fees.
The recommendations will be for the 2020-21 school year and will address issues such as registration and routing timelines, eligibility distance limits, transit service, fee structure and government funding changes.
Results from the first survey have been released:
- 2,550 responses.
- 55.6 per cent of responses were from current riders and 44.4 per cent were from non-riders.
- 71.3 per cent of respondents believe that the current proportion of the budget that goes to transportation should remain the same. The majority of non-riders (61.9 per cent) also believe this.
- Respondents were equally split on if courtesy riders should pay more than eligible riders.
- Reducing bus service, either for courtesy or all students, was significantly lower ranked by respondents than increasing fees or utilizing public transit service.
- 69.9 per cent of respondents believed the board should not provide busing service for programs of choice.
- 87.3 per cent of respondents believe the current process of structuring routes for eligible riders should continue.
- 60.4 per cent of respondents believe younger students should be prioritized for busing.
- 82.0 per cent of respondents believe public transit service is an age suitable alternative for secondary students (77.9 per cent of secondary parents). Only 34.7 per cent believe it would be age suitable for middle school students as well.
Drop in public meetings will take place from Dec. 3-12 at the following locations:
- Canyon Falls Middle School – Dec. 3 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
- George Elliot Secondary School – Dec. 5 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
- Mount Boucherie Secondary School – Dec. 9 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
- Rutland Secondary School – Dec. 10 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
- Dr. Knox Middle School – Dec. 12 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
The district says it encourages all families to participate in the consultations, as the decisions made will determine the budget for the foreseeable future.
The public will be informed of the process through email, social media, school newsletters and the Central Okanagan Public Schools website.