Small boost in bus funding for Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii public schools will receive a small boost to help with busing costs this year.

Haida Gwaii public schools will receive a small boost to help with busing costs this year.

Earlier this month, the B.C. government announced a boost of up to $149,851 for the islands, where school busing makes up more than $500,000 of the district’s $10 million budget.

“We’re certainly going to say thank you, but it doesn’t cover $500,000 and we weren’t going to make parents pay anyway,” said Elizabeth Condrotte, a trustee and chair of the school board, noting that the surprise grant came during an election year.

“But I’ll keep gift horses’ mouths closed,” she said.

This spring, school trustees spoke with village councillors and Northern Health about the possibility of sharing a single public bus service on the islands.

The Village of Port Clements has applied for a $10,000 grant to study the idea.

Last year, Haida Gwaii had five bus routes for public school students—two in the north, two in the south, with a short connecting trip between Port Clements and Tlell.

The north-end buses carried 37 students to Tahayghen and 50 to George M. Dawson, while the south-end buses carried 63 students to Gidgalang Kuuyas Naay Secondary and 69 to Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary.