Steve Rae

Steve Rae

Nanaimo school district eligible for provincial transportation grant

NANAIMO – Up to $244,630 available to Nanaimo school district from Ministry of Education.

With a transportation policy review underway, Nanaimo school district has learned it could receive up to $244,630 from the Ministry of Education.

The ministry announced Wednesday that Nanaimo is eligible for money from the Student Transportation Fund. Steve Rae, school board chairman, said the district will have to submit an application to the ministryby Sept. 30, detailing how the money will be spent. The province will ultimately decide how much will be granted.

According to the ministry, money can be spent on the addition or amendment of routes, improving access to local transit services, services for students with disabilities, shortening route times, bus stop relocation, better bus supervision and providing money for existing transportation services.

Rae said the funding announcement came at an opportune moment.

“We’re in the middle of a transportation review, so there are lots of opportunities on, when we get the review back from our staff, how we move forward and this money is coming at a perfect time,” Rae said.

Feedback for the transportation review is being accepted until Aug. 31 and a draft student transportation policy is expected to be brought before the board business committee in September.

Rae said he isn’t set on how the district will spend the money. He will await staff recommendations.

“The conservative part of me says we shouldn’t spend any of it until we figure it out, the other side of me says there’s a lots of opportunities. It’s almost like Christmas, but one thing I do want to make sure is that we take our time, get our staff input and spend it on what’s best for the whole district,” said Rae.

A total of $14.7 million in transportation fund money will be doled out across the province, according to the ministry.