September 13th, 2017

NDP calls for review of school bussing

Parents left scrambling

DARTMOUTH – Parents were left scrambling to provide for transportation after children at a Dartmouth elementary school were removed from school buses taking them to their after-school program. In response, NDP Education and Early Childhood Development spokesperson Claudia Chender has written to the Minister of Education to request of review of school bussing to address this and other issues that have come up over the past year.

"Many parents have contacted me to say that their children are being told that there is no room for them on the bus they have been taking for years," said Chender. "Parents have had to leave work or take vacation time just to make sure their children have a safe way home from school. This is unacceptable."

Jennifer Chapman has a child in grade one and a child in grade three at Shannon Park Elementary. For three years, her eldest child has gone to the MAPS after school program in Downtown Dartmouth, and was bused to that program from school. Last week, Chapman received a call, saying that there was no room on the bus for her children and that she would have to come pick them up at the school, immediately.

“My husband and I both work during the day and as working parents we rely on an after school program to take care of our kids until we can pick them up,” said Chapman. “Bussing has never been an issue before. It’s unreasonable to assume that every family will be able to have one parent home in the afternoon, to pick up the kids from the bus stop.”

The Caucus has also received correspondence from other areas of the province about children being denied access to buses.

The Halifax Regional School Board called for a review of bussing distances earlier this year in a letter to the Minister of Education. The NDP Caucus has previously raised concerns about the amount of time young children are spending on buses in rural areas.

“With all the issues we’re seeing with bussing around the province, it’s important that the Minister of Education take this seriously. We must ensure we are meeting family’s needs and school boards have adequate funding to do so,” said Chender.
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For more information please contact Kyle Buott at (902) 266-2068.