The Delta School District will not be receiving any more money for transportation from the province, following a decision from the Technical Review Committee (TRC) of the Ministry of Education.
In a letter sent to the district Wednesday (Nov. 6), the TRC said it considered the Oct. 8 presentation made by Delta asking the province to consider its unique mix of urban and rural geography, but decided not to propose changes to the funding.
“Delta continues to match the levels of the Student Location Factor (SLF) allocation directly to spending levels for transportation in the School District,” reads the letter. “The SLF is just one comparatively small part of overall funding allocations in the district.
“The service level that the District provides for Level Two Special Needs students appears high in comparison to other districts of which the Committee is aware.”
The ministry increased the per-student formula to $6,900 this year from $6,784 the previous year, although enrollment continues to decline in the district, which currently has about 15,600 students.
In 2012 the province announced it was slashing 47 per cent, or $728,000, from the funding formula over three years, resulting a District reduction of its bussing budget by $380,000 in each of the next two years.
According to a statement posted on their website, the District maintains the transportation funding formula does not work for Delta.
“The unique and spread-out rural and urban geography of Delta, consisting of vast farmlands and Burn’s Bog, which results in higher transportation costs, along with the lack of public transit in the area were explained.
“Unfortunately, the committee will not be recommending changes to the funding formula. Therefore, Delta will not have its student transportation funding restored nor receive any new monies for student transportation.”
The District will now have to find “efficiencies” under its current transportation services for students with special needs. Should spaces on some buses be available, parents will have the option to place their child on as as-needed basis.
Board Chair Laura Dixon said during the summer that some Boundary Bay parents will rent the district’s Academy Bus to transport their children to Beach Grove Elementary and that plan may include drop-offs to South Park Elementary and South Delta Secondary as well.