May. 15, 2017
PDF of News Release
CALGARY – For the past two years, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has been working towards developing a long-term, sustainable transportation system. Making changes to transportation service levels and realigning some bell times for the 2017-18 school year will make the service model sustainable into the future.
“We have been committed to looking at ways to do things differently in transportation to find ways that we can become financially sustainable,” said Chief Superintendent David Stevenson. “During the engagement with families last year they told us that they expected us to eliminate the subsidy for transportation from our operating budget. The changes proposed for the 2017-18 school year will make that possible.”
For the majority of students attending a Regular Program at their designated school, transportation service levels will remain similar to what was provided this year. The CBE will continue to work within current guidelines, where feasible, to provide yellow school bus transportation. This means that elementary students will access a stop within 1.6 km of their homes and middle school/junior high students will access a stop within 1.8 km of their homes. The majority of students will access a bus stop that is approximately 500 m from their homes.
Starting in September 2017 the majority of students in Alternative Programs will access yellow school bus service within a congregated stop model. Despite the change, we anticipate the majority of students in larger alternative programs (French Immersion, Spanish Bilingual and Traditional Learning Centres) will have a stop within 1 km from home because of the higher density of student population within a community accessing these schools and programs. The longest distances to a yellow bus stop will be for students travelling across the city to a program at a single site. These students may have bus stops located beyond the travel distance guidelines.
Mid-day kindergarten service will be maintained for all programs.
Through Bill 1, the government has eliminated transportation fees for kindergarten to Grade 9 students in who live 2.4 km or more away from their designated Regular Program school and are assigned to a yellow school bus route. Students requiring complex learning needs transportation or attending a special setting will also be exempt from transportation fees.
Grade 6-12 students residing more than 2.4 km from their designated school attending a Regular Program and assigned to Calgary Transit will be responsible for purchasing monthly bus passes at the cost of $70/month. The CBE will rebate families $549/year, meaning they will pay $151/year. More details about the rebate program will be announced before the end of the school year.
Other Regular Program rides living closer than 2.4 km to their school and all Alternative Program riders assigned to yellow school buses will be charged $335/year. This is the same fee as 2016-17. Those assigned to Calgary Transit will pay $700/year.
CBE transportation service levels and fees are subject to Ministerial approval.
“We are supportive of Bill 1 and making life more affordable for families. The decisions we have made for the upcoming school year have been guided by what we heard from our parents during our engagement last spring and were made to align with Bill 1. This is good news for the majority of our families,” said Chief Superintendent Stevenson.
Alignment of Bell Times
Over the next two years the CBE is also aligning bell times at schools across the system to allow yellow school buses to complete at least two routes each morning and two each afternoon. By partnering routes at all schools that use transportation service, this will result in more than $5 million in savings.
The impact on individual schools varies. Many schools will see no change to their entry or dismissal times. Some will see changes to at least one bell time of 1 – 15 minutes, and others from 16 – 30 minutes. A few schools will see changes of more than 30 minutes. Changes to bell times of more than 31 minutes will not take effect until the 2018-19 school year.
The transportation pre-registration period will be open for parents from Tuesday, May 23 to Monday, June 5.
Transportation pre-registrations can be completed using My CBE Account. To be included in the yellow school bus route planning for September, parents must pre-register by June 5. Any registrations received after that date will not be considered until route changes are done after Thanksgiving. The more registrations received by the deadline, the more efficient route planning will be for September.