May. 15, 2020
In January 2020, the Board of Trustees directed CBE administration to balance transportation costs using only provincial funding and user fees. They also asked that feedback be gathered in support of the development of a balanced 2020-21 transportation budget.
As a result, the CBE conducted an online survey in March 2020. We were pleased to have extremely high participation on this survey, with 10,000 responses. All of the feedback gathered through the survey was reviewed and carefully considered in making decisions about the 2020-21 transportation budget and services.
The table below summarizes the decisions made regarding the 2020-21 transportation budget and services and how these decisions respond to feedback provided by students, parents, staff and community members on the online survey. Survey feedback asked that the CBE use a combination of fee increases and reducing non-mandated services to balance the transportation budget, and this approach has been adopted by the CBE.
|2020-21 Transportation Fees & Services||Rationale|
|Fee for students who live further than 2.4 km away from their designated community school and students in specialized programs who can use general transportation (mandated: legislated requirement to provide): $465/year.||Maintain as low a fee as possible for mandated services.|
|Fee for students who live between 1.6 and 2.4 km from school or who attend alternative programs (non-mandated: not required by legislation to provide): $800/year.|
Alternative programs include: French Immersion, bilingual language programs, Montessori, TLC, Science, Indigenous Focus, All Boys, All Girls and Arts-Centred Learning.
|Transportation for elementary students in the regular program who live 1.6-2.4 km from school was rated as the most important non-mandated service on the survey. Transportation for alternative programs is rated as the second most important non-mandated service by families taking yellow bus transportation and third overall.|
These two services are not mandated, yet they are important to families. As a result, the services have been maintained but the fee is higher than for mandated services.
|Students in specialized programs who require specialized transportation will not pay a fee.||Maintain direction provided by government.|
|Kindergarten students in half-day programs will be transported one-way only. This means that students in the morning program will have transportation to school and students in the afternoon program will have transportation to their home at the end of the school day. No mid-day transportation service will be offered.||Survey feedback indicates a preference for the transportation budget to be balanced through a combination of increased fees and reduced non-mandated services. Two-way kindergarten transportation is a non-mandated service. Some schools may be gathering feedback on offering kindergarten on alternating days for a full day instead of half-days for 2020-21, which would allow for two-way transportation for kindergarten students.|
|Fees for half-day and alternating day kindergarten students will be 50 per cent of the non-mandated fee. $800 x 50% = $400||Fee reflects reduced level of transportation service for kindergarten students in half-day or alternating day programs.|
|Some students in Grade 6 or above who currently take the yellow bus may be taking Calgary Transit. Letters will be sent to families at the affected schools.||Continue to gain efficiencies where possible; part of ongoing work that began in 2016-17.|
|Bell time adjustments are being made at approximately 20 CBE schools in 2020-21. Letters will be sent to families at the affected schools.||Bell time changes were required to provide more efficient transportation services overall.|
|For families with students in specialized programs, more information will be shared about adjustments to transportation services for 2020-21.||This is information relevant for some CBE schools not all schools and families.|
The full survey results, facts about the 2019-20 transportation budget and services and more information about the 2020 transportation engagement are available at cbe.ab.ca/dialogue.
More detailed information about CBE transportation services is available at cbe.ab.ca/transportation. In order to be included in the yellow school bus route planning for September, families need to register using My CBE / PowerSchool by Sunday, June 14, 2020. You can start to register on May 19, 2020.
We are making these plans for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, however, the re-opening of schools is based on recommendations of the government. Re-entry plans have not been finalized.
These are difficult decisions and financially challenging times. We know these changes will have a significant impact on some families, but these changes are necessary to ensure the CBE has a balanced transportation budget that does not require funds to be redirected from the classroom to subsidize transportation.
Waivers will continue to be available for eligible families. As the waiver application process is currently under review, more information will be coming later this spring.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and perspectives with us. We have done our best to respond to the feedback you provided.
Superintendent, Facilities and Environmental Services