ABBOTSFORD – Students and parents in the Abbotsford school district could soon have access to improved school transportation services thanks to up to $253,969 in provincial funding being made available, MLA Mike de Jong and MLA Darryl Plecas announced today.

The MLAs are encouraging the district to apply for the funding available under the provincial government’s new $14.7 million School Transportation Fund. Funding will continue on an ongoing basis in future years.

“Abbotsford families will be glad to see bussing fees eliminated,” MLA de Jong said.  “Families with more than one child in school could have spent up to $800 per year on bussing.  Now those dollars will stay in their pockets.”

“Making it easier, safer and more affordable for students to get to school is what the Student Transportation Fund is all about, and the benefit of this will be strongly felt in Abbotsford,” MLA Plecas said. “Thanks to fiscal discipline and strong economic growth, the BC Liberal Government has been able to provide this critical investment.”

“The most important thing is to get children to school on time and then safely back home again,” said Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson. “This funding model will give our school board the flexibility it needs to provide better bus transportation.”

The handful of districts that currently charge families a transportation fee for a student’s local or catchment area school must eliminate those fees to be eligible to access the funding under the program. All districts need to use the funding for transportation services to be eligible.

Funding can also be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • improving service by adding new or amended routes;
  • improving access to local transit services;
  • providing accessible services for students with disabilities;
  • reducing ride times;
  • boosting student safety by relocating bus stops and improving bus supervision; and,
  • funding existing transportation services and investing the savings in enhanced student services.

To be eligible for funding, districts must submit a plan to the Ministry of Education by September 30 outlining how they will use the funding to boost transportation services for students and families. Districts will hear back shortly after they submit their applications on how much funding they will receive.

The amount of funding a district is eligible for is based on a formula tied to the Ministry of Education’s student location factor, which is used to determine the rural makeup of a school district. Districts will also be required to report back on the outcomes and the benefits they achieved as a result of the funding.

As a result of B.C.’s strong economic growth and fiscal discipline, government is able to make key investments like the School Transportation Fund to improve the lives of British Columbians.

 Quick Facts:

 The Student Transportation Fund, builds on government’s recent investments to further strengthen B.C.’s education system and support student learning, including:

    • $25 million of administrative savings returned to school districts to invest in students;
    • $2 million Rural Education Enhancement Fund to help keep schools open;
    • $28 million to ensure enrolment increases and labour settlements are covered; and,
    • $6 million to train teachers on coding and new curriculum and to buy computers.