Port council wants to broker bus meeting

  • Apr. 22, 2009 10:00 a.m.

Port Clements council is offering to arrange a meeting between the school board and local parents upset by the board’s decision to cut the school bus run between Port and Masset. The board decided earlier this year to cancel the bus starting this September because it expects ridership to drop to only six students. The decision will save $58,000, according to a letter from school district secretary-treasurer Ken Campbell which council members read at their meeting Monday night (April 20). Mr. Campbell said school district funds are shrinking because of declining enrollment and the board must find ways to save money. Port’s idea of using a smaller bus would not save a significant amount because the major cost in providing bus service is the driver’s wages, he said. The village protested the decision earlier this month and Mr. Campbell’s response did not satisfy council members. Councillors said they were surprised the board would even consider cancelling bus service between Port and the closest high school. “What happened to the day when you lived here, you went to school, the bus picked you up, end of story, period,” said councillor Naureen Hughes-McMullon. Mayor Cory Delves said the school board had created the problem by deciding a couple of years ago to fund a bus route from Port to Tlell, which allows Port students who want to attend Queen Charlotte Secondary to catch the Tlell-Queen Charlotte bus. According to Mr. Campbell, 15 students will be taking that bus next year, compared to the six on the Port-Masset route – despite the fact that it takes twice as long to get to Queen Charlotte Secondary as it does to get to Masset. “They created the problem by enabling kids to have the choice,” Mr. Delves said. Mr. Delves said council could write another letter to the school board about the matter, but it might be more constructive to facilitate a meeting between trustees and parents instead, and try to come up with a solution. Councillors agreed.