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School bus users could bear the brunt as Central Okanagan school trustees balance budget

Kids using the Central Okanagan School District's bus system face a doubling of the $100 annual fee as the trustees look to balance the budget.
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April 16, 2015 - 10:42 AM

KELOWNA - Central Okanagan school board trustees got their first look at recommendations on how to cut $1.3-million from next year’s $117-million budget last night.

Chief amongst the recommendations from district staff is the doubling of the $100 annual fee for kids who use the school board’s bus system, an increase that will raise $400,000, according to the school district's secretary treasurer Larry Paul.

“That’s the one that will get the most attention from parents,” Paul says.

He says the bus fee increase reverses a cut made by the board three years ago when the school board chopped it in half.

Paul says the recommendations avoid layoffs and school closures, although some adminstrative positions currently unfilled will be eliminated.

“The debate around budget cuts is a lot more intense if we close a school or positions are cut,” he says. “These are challenging times so we’re asking parents to share in that.”

The provincial education ministry had earlier asked school districts across the province to cut their budgets by $29 million with the focus on adminstration. However, Paul points out the ministry has provided a broad definition of what adminstrative cuts could mean.

“The government said we could get credit for efficiencies that have already been completed, as well as allowing revenue increases, such as the bus fee increase," he says. “For example, we’re looking to increase the revenue from our international education program."

Paul says trustees still have the option of rejecting or modifying the recommendations before the school board as a whole receives them in two weeks.

“They have some time to think about it. They can either tell us to go forward or make changes,” he says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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