At the regular meeting held on Thursday, Sept. 17 Clearview Public Schools trustees carried forward a motion, moved by trustee Ken Checkel that yard pickup would become a pay for service, and those who wanted to avail of the opportunity would need to comply with a fee of $300.
The move came right after a motion to waive the yard fees for services along highways 12, 36 and 56 was brought on the table by trustee Yvette Cassidy and defeated in a vote of four against three.
“Clearview has had yard service guidelines for many years, and has not provided yard services for all yards, in fact, of the 790families we provided transportation services for, only 252 families received yard services,” said Peter Barron, superintendent,Clearview Public Schools. “The guidelines that were in place for many years became stale-dated, and families were receiving yard services that did not fit our criteria, and of the families that received yard services, 120 families or 47 per cent did not fit our criteria.”
The issue spiralled out of control more recently when a Clearview bus was involved in a road accident on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
During the afternoon run, the Clearview Public Schools bus was impacted slightly from behind by a vehicle in the incident north of Stettler.
After the bus was inspected and RCMP were on the site, it was determined that the bus was able to continue on its route with the students on board.
No students or staff were hurt in the incident, and the school bus sustained no damage.
“While many parents appreciate the convenience and feeling of safety yard services offer, yard services is not a requirement under most conditions,” added Barron. “Alberta Transportation has many safety standards that apply to a bus stopping safety on a road, and funding from Alberta Education does not include yard service distances.”
The $300-yard pickup was calculated based on the cost for a driver and the cost of operating a bus for the kilometres driven to provide yard services.
Barron explained, “The calculation is based on cost recovery for providing the service, and is a compromise for those parents that do not require for transportation operations to receive the service, and would like the service for a fee.”
According to Barron, the option for a fee for service was requested during conversations with parents, including two surveys and 2015-16 budget consultations conducted in the spring of 2015.