NEW CUTLINE SD 62 is considering assessing fees for school bus services.

Students unload the bus heading toward the high school, Jr. high, and intermediate school, classes.

Sooke School District considers bus fees for students

Public feedback taken now, for consideration in January

Parents in the Sooke School District will have to wait until the new year for a decision on whether they have to pony up bus fare for students.

School District 62sent out a proposal to parents on Oct. 14 saying that “We are re-evaluating school bus transportation policies in order to better meet the needs of our families, and at the same time, deliver reliable service. We need to do this within a certain budget.”

SD 62 does not currently charge for school bus transportation.

Proposed changes include a $25 registration fee, which would be waived for families in need, that will be used to directly improve student and driver safety. A proposed rider fee of $175 to $250, with a maximum amount per family “to improve service levels and wait times” would be charged.

READ ALSO: Sooke School District opens conversation on catchment boundary changes

A defined registration period would run from February to April, with route information sent to those who register. Registration would still be possible after that, based on space and availability. School bus service would be available only in the student’s catchment area, and not for students who attend school outside of their catchment area. Students in French Immersion programs would be in the French Immersion catchment.

BC Transit hubs may be used for secondary school students attending a school other than one in their catchment area. Those students would have the option of taking SD62 transportation to a BC Transit exchange and continuing the remainder of the way to their school on public transportation.

More than 1,000 parents weighed in on the proposal, with the majority against the fees, said a spokesperson for SD62.

The feedback is being prepared for the Board of Education for presentation and a decision in January 2021.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

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