© — Telegram file photo
Education Minister Clyde Jackman
Education Minister Clyde Jackman said the big takeaway from a 300-page report on school busing in the province is that no changes are coming right away.
The report, done by Deloitte and paid for by the provincial government, said that school busing in the province is comparable to other places in North America, and the consulting firm said there are no major ways to improve service without spending more money.
“Our system is definitely a good one, comparable and better than other jurisdictions,” Education Minister Clyde Jackman said.
“Having said that, though, if there’s ways that we can find efficiencies and improve on the provision of busing, and that we can work with schools and school councils and parents, well, we want to do that.”
The big takeaway from the report for Jackman was that school boards should be using software and maybe GPS units on buses to track routes and departure times.
By using technology, Deloitte said, the government can run fewer buses and save money.
“The most effective way to reduce busing costs is to pull buses off the road. By using a one bus, one road policy and optimizing routes, districts can reduce the number of buses required,” the report said. “In order to do this effectively, routing software is required.”
None of this will be put into practice right away. The provincial government is amalgamating the province’s four English-language school boards into one mega-board. Since school busing is a school board issue, Jackman said the government will work with the mega-board.
“There’s no doubt about it. There won’t be any action taken on this until the new board comes in place,” he said.
“We, as a department, will sit and discuss with the school board, and then you know, jointly, we’ll work out a plan to move forward.”
The province spends $47 million annually on school busing; the Deloitte report cost $75,000.