There has been a development in the transportation that is affecting School District 70 closure discussions.
Busing in the district will be reduced by three runs, superintendent Cam Pinkerton said.
According to Pinkerton, a marshaling program will be instituted that will scale back the walk limit for students while still providing the same level of service, he said.
Presently in SD 70, kindergarten to Grade 3 students have to walk up to four kilometres to catch a school bus. Students from Grades 4-12 have to walk five kilometres.
SD 70 has thus far abided by the regulation, Pinkerton said, even though the cookie-cutter policy didn’t exactly apply to the Alberni Valley’s rural areas.
But that’s about to change.
In September, marshaling areas will be established for students to group at and be picked up by a school bus. The new areas will require students to walk an average of one to two kilometres.
The plan is still being developed and will be announced when it is finalized, Pinkerton said.
Transportation by water taxi still remains an issue though, Pinkerton said.
Approximately 37 students in the West Coast portion of School District 70 go to school via water taxi.
The cost to take a bus to school is roughly $1,100 per student per year. The cost to take a water taxi to school is $6,500.
Secretary treasurer Lindsay Cheetam and Pinkerton met with officials from the Tlaoquiaht First Nation to spell out the district’s position, Cheetham said.
“We will be seeing a reduction in the number of boat runs starting now and leading into the future,” Cheetham said. “
The district is also examining school start times on the West Coast, Pinkerton said.