Surrey school board should apply for transportation funding, Liberal MLAs say

The provincial government will give Surrey school district up to $72,999 for "improved school transportation services" if the district asks.

Surrey school board headquarters

Surrey school board headquarters

SURREY — The provincial government says it will give the Surrey school district  up to $72,999  for “improved school transportation services” if the district asks for it.

“I expect we will,” said Surrey school district spokesman Doug Strachan. “We’re grateful for any funding. We will certainly look for an opportunity to use the money.”

There is a need for improved transportation options, such as bus service, for Surrey students as the city is geographically large and its population is spread out, he noted.

A news release issued by B.C. Government Caucus Communications states Surrey MLAs are encouraging the district to apply through the provincial government’s new $14.7 million School Transportation Fund.

Surrey-Fleetwood Liberal MLA Peter Fassbender said it “allows them to look ahead and make plans for consistent improvements to bus services that will benefit our students and their families.”

Gordon Hogg, Liberal MLA for Surrey-White Rock, said the funding “could mean easier access to buses and shorter ride times” for students in Surrey and White Rock. “That’s something parents and students can all appreciate.”

School districts that want the funding must submit a plan to the Ministry of Education by Sept. 30 describing how they’ll use the cash to improve transportation services for students and their families. The funds can be used to add or amend routes, improve access to local transit, provide better services for students with disabilities, reduce ride times and boost safety by enhancing bus supervision and relocating bus stops.

Districts that now charge families a transportation fee must eliminate those fees to be eligible for funding under the program.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com