Tuesday, May 18, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 20 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“People want this bylaw. This town is bad and getting worse.”
- Councillor Ian MacLeod  
- on the community   
standards bylaw   
Parent group’s request for more options turned down
 
The school bussing policy for the Crowsnest Pass will remain as planned for the 2010-2011 school year, as the Livingstone Range School Division’s board reaffirmed its decisions at a public meeting on Tuesday, May 11, in Claresholm.
A local parent group went to the board in April with a list of concerns and requests. Among other things, they asked that the school division provide more options for parents who might struggle with the policy. The policy only allows children to be picked up and dropped off at home, or at another residence along the same route, while all students within 2.4 km of their school will not be picked up by a bus.
The parents were concerned about the safety of young children walking to school, especially in Coleman. They said that they would be willing to continue paying for a bus pass, as they were able to this year, but the bus pass is no longer an option for next year.
Dick Peterson, chair of the school board, says that the board reaffirmed its bussing policy and will not be changing it for the coming year.
“The policy applies to the whole division, not just the Crowsnest Pass,” he says. “I have nothing but sympathy for parents who have to work around it.”
Peterson says that the board must represent the interests of all of the communities and schools within the Livingstone Range School Division. With the transportation budget running an ever-increasing deficit in recent years, he says, they needed to do something to keep enough money in classrooms. He says that all of the communities must operate under the same rules, and exceptions can’t be made for one or another at the expense of the division’s financial position.
“We’ve all been hit by cutbacks,” says Peterson. “We’re up against a wall. We’re not ogres, we’re not uncaring. It’s not about any one community.”
 
He adds that they looked at the financial feasibility of a continuing bus pass, but says that it would not work, and would also be demanded by every other community, many of which have never had in-town bussing, if it became a policy for the Crowsnest Pass.
“Unless it’s over $1000 a student,” says Peterson, “it won’t even come close to covering the cost.” In addition, he says, he is personally against a pay-for system because he does not want to create a two-tier bussing system where families that could afford it could ride the bus, while those that couldn’t afford it still would not be able to.
Peterson notes that the concerns expressed in Crowsnest Pass can be found in other communities in the division as well, including wildlife and cold winter temperatures. He notes that Nanton and Fort Macleod both have four lanes of highway running through them, but neither has in-town bussing.
Concern has been expressed about a lack of crosswalks and sidewalks in Coleman. These are the responsibility of the municipality, or of Alberta Transportation on the highway.
He says that the schools would fully support bringing in presentations about railway, highway, or wildlife safety for their students.
Leah McNeil, a member of the concerned parent group, says that they intend to appeal the decision and continue to try to get their concerns across.
She says that she feels there was a lack of communication about what they wanted from the school board. She says that they want the division to work with parents within the noted financial constraints. She said that they want the board to re-examine the policy division-wide, and not just to create special exemptions for the Crowsnest Pass.
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