As stated in the media, CAPSC continues to have major concerns about the CBE’s new transportation strategy.
We thank Trustee Hurdman for bringing forward the Extraordinary Monitoring Report Request at the Tuesday, September 15 board meeting. Details on how the CBE made these changes to transportation can be found in the board meeting agenda. Trustees Hurdman, Hehr, Stewart and Hrdlicka voted in support of the motion recognizing inadequate public consultation and requiring additional monitoring from the board. Trustees Bowen-Eyre, Ferguson and King voted against the motion.
To date, CBE has only announced that they will revise routes to restrict walk limits to under 1.6 km for elementary school students and 1.8 km for junior high students. This promise should alleviate the most extreme walk distances (2.5+ km) reported by families. However, it is only a slightly altered version of the CBE’s original plan. It does not address fundamental problems mentioned in feedback from hundreds of parents on CAPSC’s petition and stakeholder form:
- safety issues related to long walks in darkness, winter conditions and traffic
- ability of families to alter work hours and childcare to accommodate the changes
- elimination of subsidies and switch to public transit for children in middle and junior high schools
- lack of true consultation necessary to create solutions that work for families as well as for the CBE.
Nor does it allow parents to consider the new routes before the September 30 payment deadline.
Since last May, parents have attempted to communicate directly with the CBE. They raised red flags about the effect of distance, unreliable buses, weather and poorly designed routes on both children and families. Concerns about related expenses, a switch to public transit for children in middle/junior high schools, and elimination of subsidies were also mentioned. Despite over 1200 signatures to our petition, no answers or plan for public consultation have been forthcoming.
CAPSC believes that effective consultation between parents and school boards is key to developing good educational policies. We appreciate the intervention of the Minister of Education, and are disappointed that we must continue to publicly advocate for the most important stakeholders in this scenario – our children.
As stated in the online petition, we continue to request that:
- stakeholders in public education put safety first, requiring the CBE to restore walk times to bus stops to previous levels
- true public consultation on transportation strategies take place immediately
- an independent financial review of transportation fees take place, including Calgary Transit fees paid by parents.
We hope that a remedy will be found soon, as the winter months are rapidly approaching. You will hear from us shortly regarding plans to raise more awareness on this issue.
Want to share your opinion about the CBE’s changes to transportation?
Related Media Coverage:
Calgary Herald – Poor Handling of Bus Chaos
CBC – Congregated Stops Prompt CBE Apology
Global – Parents Still Concerned With Stops
Metro News – Province, Parents Not Buying Plea
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