Chilliwack parents will be on the hook for a new $25 registration fee if they want their children to ride a school bus next year.
The new fee was voted in at the April 27 board meeting, although not unanimously. There are also new designations for who is courtesy rider in Promontory. That change is expected to see more riders paying for services.
A staff report said the changes are in “mainly in response to a significant budget shortfall for the 2021/22 school year.” School districts are given funding for busing, but the Chilliwack school district receives $500,000 less than what it costs to run the service.
Staff is hoping that the registration fee will be a deterrent for those register but use the service infrequentely. Registered riders have a seat held for them every day of the week, to and from school. But it leads to situations on buses where there are many seats unused.
The revenue expected from the registration fee is estimated at about $100,000.
Three trustees, Heather Maahs, Barry Neufeld and Darrell Furgason, voted against the $25 registration fee.
As for the changes for Promontory students, there were several reasons for the change.
Secondary students who live on Promontory and are within walk limits are considered courtesy riders if they choose to register for busing, the report says. The courtesy rider fee is $260 per student or $520 per family. The walk limits have been changed in response to upgrades along walking routes. Grade levels at G.W. Graham have also changed from 7-12, to 9-12.
Secondary students who reside outside of walk limits for G.W. Graham Secondary will still be considered regular riders, who don’t pay for bus services.
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