Tue, 10 Dec, 2019
Today, Edmonton Public Schools’ Board of Trustees voted to support a mid-year fee increase for some students who ride the bus.
Board Chair Trisha Estabrooks says this isn’t a decision Trustees took lightly.
“We have no option but to make these difficult decisions,” she says. “We pay more for transportation services than we collect in user fees and now we have fewer provincial dollars to help cover costs, based on the October 24 provincial budget.”
In June 2017, the provincial government removed the ability for school boards to charge transportation fees for students who live 2.4 kilometres or more from their designated school. In order to offset this cost, school boards were provided with the School Fee Reduction grant for transportation. This grant was eliminated in the provincial budget, resulting in $5.3 million less in transportation funds.
“Our Division was subsidizing shortfalls in funding with our surplus funds, but now that’s depleted to ensure we’re supporting classrooms; we have no choice but to pass this fee onto parents,” says Estabrooks.
Starting February 1, 2020, families who previously didn’t have to pay for yellow bus transportation, or those who received ETS pass subsidies will now be required to pay for transportation. This includes all students who live 2.4 kilometres or more from their designated school.
Traditionally, Edmonton Public Schools has not charged transportation fees for Kindergarten students. Starting February 1, 2020, parents who have Kindergarten students using busing will also be required to pay for transportation.
Schools will be contacting affected families in January.
For many families who use yellow busing, this fee increase could look as follows:
For families who use ETS busing, this fee increase could look as follows:
For families who have children in Kindergarten, this fee increase could look as follows:
Special education students who receive curb service will not pay fees; transportation for these students remains no charge.
Fees are not increasing for any other students. What they currently pay will stay the same for the remainder of the school year.
Learn more about bus passes and fees.
The Board of Trustees also voted to support engaging parents and families about transportation fees and service for the 2020-2021 school year.
“While this fee increase will help us bridge a portion of our funding gap this year, we need to think more broadly about how we provide transportation services to Edmontonians, and what we charge for that service,” says Estabrooks.
In January, the Division will share a survey with parents about their priorities related to transportation. This will help inform any changes we make for the next school year.