Free ride over

School bus system is one area where efficiencies could be looked at in District 69 (Qualicum)

The board of School District 69 (Qualicum) is in the unenviable situation of trying to come up with ways to save more than $500,000 in their 2012 budget. They are now finally realizing the dilemma facing their predecessors prior to last November’s municipal election — and why they actually had entertained a report that listed the possible closure of Kwalikum Secondary School as one way to save money in the face of declining enrolment here.

Now, a new school board of trustees face big decisions in order to balance their books. A decline in students means less money from the province — except that this year only, B.C. has pledged to maintain local funding levels. Still, thanks to contract issues, rising costs of service and more, the board faces a half-million deficit.

The money has to come from somewhere. The trustees are proposing many options, including eliminating extra-curricular bus transportation.

That will only go so far.

So, how about full elimination of all school bus transportation in District 69? It’s not a required function of a school board to provide this service. And, compared with in-class education service and staffing, it might be the only palatable large service cut — if people thought logically.

But they don’t.

Apart from the resulting job losses and the grief that would cause, parents for the most part won’t abide driving their children to and from school — unless the school day is changed to a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. session. That could allow the board to shorten the school calendar, using those extra hours to make up for it.

Barring that, maybe the district will start charging more to ride the buses — and allow more students to get on board.

It’s unlikely the trustees will eliminate the buses. The parent outcry would be worse than if they cut teachers.

Yet, the free ride in this school district is surely over.

— editorial by Steven Heywood


Just Posted

Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor celebrate 50 years

Week of ‘60s-themed activities starts on April 26

UPDATE: Missing kayakers located safe and sound in Welcome Bay

Pair were reported missing April 22, in vicinity of Lasqueti Island

Review: The Magic of ‘Almost, Maine’

ECHO Players production runs through May 5 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach

Coombs farm auction returns April 28

CFI hosts 41st annual auction

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Most Read