The school year may just be coming to a close but plans are already being made for next year. New to the plans for the 2008 and 2009 school year will be an increase in the non-mandated urban transportation fees.
Students who live within a 2.4 km distance from their designated school will be finding that it will be more expensive to ride the bus to school.
For Grade 1 to 12 the fees have increased from $315 to $390 and for kindergarten students the fee has increased from $157.50 to $195. The new fees break down to $39 per month and $2.13 per day.
The Wolf Creek Public School Board has been keeping an eye on the urban transportation system and predicted and informed people a couple of years ago that rates would be increasing in stages over the next few years.
“There is no funding for this,” said Larry Jacobs superintendent of schools. “We have to recover that cost through fees.”
The total cost of maintaining this service is $133,000 per year.
“The price covers the drivers, fuel, insurance and repair,” said Jacobs. “It does not include depreciation of the busses or any other overhead costs.”
Jacobs believes that the fees are necessary in order to ensure that children are receiving a good education.
“If the non-mandated urban bussing is not cost recovery based it has to be subsidized from another area of the operation,” he said. “It’s important that we place education at a higher priority than subsidizing a non-mandated service.”
The service has been operating at a substantial deficit to the board for the past couple of years. The deficit for this year will be approximately $23,000.
The Board, in the past, has been able to set back the deficits with surplus funds from its mandated rural transportation service. Recently the mandated service can no longer provide the Board with the surplus funds to support the non-mandated service.
Other funding services can not be looked into without negatively impacting other areas of the schools throughout the area.
Jacobs is uncertain as to how the families impacted will respond.
“The information is just rolling out,” he said. “I’m not sure what the impact will be.”