Stettler students going to Christ-King Catholic School could be riding buses with Clearview Public Schools as early as next winter.
Trustees from East Central Alberta Catholic Separate Schools (ECACS) and Clearview are positive as they continue to discuss a plan to develop and implement a co-operative busing agreement.
“It looks like it will be possibly in February or the fall of 2013 when the agreement comes into place,” said Ken Checkel, who chairs the Clearview board.
“We will be working on it through the summer.”
Further discussions are scheduled regarding funding and co-ordination of school calendars, and both boards say they’re looking forward to the completion of an agreement.
When the Clearview board approved the draft agreement April 24, trustees received information from ECACS that they’re not prepared to enter into an agreement until the 2013-14 school year.
The Clearview and East Central boards have been working for months to create a co-operative busing program.
“Both boards are looking forward to having an agreement in place at the first opportunity possible,” said Jim Brady, who chairs the Catholic board.
“This is a joint effort to best utilize the education dollars coming to the schools of the area, while providing the best service possible to all students served by these school divisions.”
The Catholic board plans to discuss the agreement at a special board meeting this summer, and then with parents of affected students.
Student transportation review
Also under review is improving bus services for other students. The Clearview board received a “student transportation review” report from transportation consultants.
The report listed seven recommendations for improvement that the board and administration might consider in the near future.
“Cornerstones of the board policies are safety and efficiency,” the board said in a news release. “These policies provide good latitude for the administration to work within.”
The consultants commended Clearview for operating an effective and efficient transportation system.
The average age of the buses is less than industry standards.
Ride times in the division are considered comparable to other rural routes throughout the province.
Clearview’s transportation department “strives to continuously improve ride times for students and refine routes,” which the board says is a priority.
Consolidation of CTS busing
Busing students from outlying communities to Stettler for career and technology studies (CTS) is being revised to save transportation costs, and to maximize opportunities for students, reported Clearview superintendent John Bailey.
In past years, different age groups of students in grades 7 to 9 were bused from schools in the Stettler area, from Big Valley, Donalda and Erskine, on different days and at different times.
Beginning in the coming school year, timetables have been realigned so that grades 7 to 9 students from each school will travel on the same day to CTS programs in Stettler.