VANDERHOOF – Students and parents in the Nechako Lakes school district could soon have access to improved school transportation services thanks to up to $503,247 in provincial funding being made available.
The school district is encouraged to apply for the funding available under the provincial government’s new $14.7 million School Transportation Fund. Funding will continue on an ongoing basis in future years.
“We recognize that families are looking for new transportation options for getting their kids to school,” John Rustad MLA Nechako Lakes said. “With this funding our school districts can now offer expanded transportation options, resulting in a better quality of life for students and their families.”
The handful of districts that currently charge families a transportation fee for a student’s local or catchment area school must eliminate those fees to be eligible to access the funding under the program. All districts need to use the funding for transportation services to be eligible.
Funding can also be used in a variety of ways, including:
· improving service by adding new or amended routes;
· improving access to local transit services;
· providing accessible services for students with disabilities;
· reducing ride times;
· boosting student safety by relocating bus stops and improving bus supervision; and,
· funding existing transportation services and investing the savings in enhanced student services.
To be eligible for funding, districts must submit a plan to the Ministry of Education by September 30 outlining how they will use the funding to boost transportation services for students and families. Districts will hear back shortly after they submit their applications on how much funding they will receive.
The amount of funding a district is eligible for is based on a formula tied to the Ministry of Education’s student location factor, which is used to determine the rural makeup of a school district. Districts will also be required to report back on the outcomes and the benefits they achieved as a result of the funding.
As a result of B.C.’s strong economic growth and fiscal discipline, government is able to make key investments like the School Transportation Fund to improve the lives of British Columbians.