The following message was sent to all CBE parents/guardians from the Board of Trustees on June 8, 2017.
Today, the Board of Trustees held a press conference to provide comments and clarity about transportation for CBE students and the government’s Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees. As a Board, we believe our plan for transportation aligns with Bill 1 and we have confidence in it.
For the next school year, transportation service levels will be the same for the majority of students. Travel distances to a bus stop will remain the same for the majority of students. And fees will be the same or reduced for the majority of our students.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, an additional 1,500 middle/junior high school students will be joining the almost 17,000 Grade 6-12 students already accessing Calgary Transit. Continuing to provide yellow bus service for these students is no longer financially sustainable. We know that this change has an impact on families.
We have heard from hundreds of parents over the past few weeks. Staff will continue to work with principals and families to provide information, answer questions and provide support through the transition.
To inform parents about service levels and fees as well as having enough time to plan routes for the fall, we were required to make decisions and plans based on information CBE administration received while working directly with government. Alberta Education expressed support for our plan and approved communicating this plan to parents before the regulations were finalized.
The Government’s FAQ documents describe what fees can be charged and who qualifies for transportation fee rebates and who does not. The FAQs clearly make a distinction between regular designated schools and alternative programs (schools and programs of choice). The document also outlines that municipal transit can be used for student transportation and under what circumstances.
The regulations for Bill 1 were proclaimed by Government on Monday, June 5. We believe our plan for transportation reflects the intention of the legislation. We will use every dollar we receive for transportation to provide sustainable transportation services. We have clearly heard from parents that we need to use provincial funding to support student learning rather than subsidizing transportation.
If your child is eligible for yellow school bus service for the 2017-18 school year, please pre-register before Sunday, June 11. If your child is not pre-registered by this date, they will not be included in route planning for the fall. This means there may not be a bus stop near your home or in your community.
We will continue to advocate on behalf of all our communities, our students and our system for an updated provincial transportation funding model. We are also advocating for more time to consult with our communities on decisions that impact our families.
For students to be successful, we must work together – parents, students, partners, community members, government, CBE administration and trustees.
More information about the 2017-18 transportation service levels and fees is posted on the CBE website, as well as a Myths & Facts document. You may also forward your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBE Board of Trustees