Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ business committee is recommending busing for the Rutherford and Frank J. Ney elementary school area be retained. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ business committee is recommending busing for the Rutherford and Frank J. Ney elementary school area be retained. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo school trustees vote against cutting Rutherford-Frank J. Ney bus route

Staff report points to yearly transportation budget deficits

Nanaimo-Ladysmith trustees have voted unanimously against a staff recommendation to eliminate a bus route in the Rutherford-Frank J. Ney schools area.

A Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools staff report cited transportation budget deficits as high as $288,000 over the past four years, with shortfalls covered by reallocation of money. Staff suggested Route 16 be discontinued in 2021-22, which would save the district $50,000 annually, but Charlene McKay, trustee and school board chairperson, introduced a motion that will see it retained provided ridership doesn’t drop below 50 per cent capacity.

At the March 3 business committee meeting, McKay said she recognized that the route was brought on as “a component” of the closure of Rutherford Elementary School, which shuttered in 2018.

“One of the things that always felt a little bit different about this route for me was that, when we did active transportation committee work, a potential bus route consideration by SD68 was one of the recommendations that came out of that [plan]…” said McKay. “It is what was identified as something that would work for the communities that were impacted.”

Prior to the meeting, Rob Zver, education support workers’ union (CUPE 606) president, told the News Bulletin that ridership numbers for the year aren’t reliable due to the pandemic, but district facilities, including Rutherford, will temporarily house students during construction projects, which may lead to increases in ridership. There could also be increased ridership in the future, he said.

“Nanaimo’s booming again,” Zver said at the meeting. “Ridership may be down now, but … populations are going [up].”

The school district transportation policy dictates that students attending class in their catchment area are eligible to catch the bus if they live outside of four kilometres from school and are between Grades 1-3. The requirement for Grade 4-12 students is 4.8 kilometres. Students residing within walk limits, or courtesy riders, can take the bus if there is space.

In 2019-20, Route 16 saw no registered eligible riders and 79 registered courtesy riders, according to the report. There are no eligible riders and 59 courtesy riders registered for 2020-21.

According to the report, the area, which includes Hammond Bay Road, has sidewalks, crosswalks and is a three-kilometre walk. It is also along a public transit bus route and has street lighting, safety features not afforded to students on other routes.

The 2019-20 school year saw a $22,343 surplus, but that was due to cost savings from COVID-19 pandemic-related school shutdowns, according to the report.

There has been a 29 per cent decrease in students using the bus from 2019-20 to this year, the report said.

The recommendation will be forwarded to the school district board meeting on Wednesday, March 10.

RELATED: SD68 chosen for school bus seatbelt pilot project

RELATED: SD68 to see two new electric buses with seatbelts

RELATED: SD68 trustees seek details on transportation policy



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

EducationNanaimoTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo playwright Anne Nesbitt is presenting a staged reading of her play about Indigenous conservationist Gertrude Bernard, also known as Anahareo (from left). (Photo courtesy Andrew Nesbitt/Riding Mountain National Park)
Nanaimo playwright tells the story of Indigenous woman who ‘saved the beaver’

Anne Nesbitt presents ‘Anahareo’ as part of TheatreOne staged reading series

The City of Nanaimo is looking at spending another $400,000 on security throughout downtown in 2021, with a focus on overnight security. (Stock photo)
City of Nanaimo looks at increasing downtown security

Council members will consider $400,000 increase in 2021, $1.45 million in 2022

‘Nanaimo’ will be spelled out in five-foot-tall letters upon a slab of concrete overlooking Swy-a-Lana Lagoon at Maffeo Sutton Park. (Greg Sakaki/The News Bulletin)
Five-foot-tall letters spelling out ‘Nanaimo’ coming to Maffeo Sutton Park

$50,000-project expected to be installed by the end of April

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help find a 37-year-old man who was last seen early Tuesday, April 13. (Photo submitted)
RCMP searching for missing Nanaimo man

Friends, family of Robert William Sport, 37, extremely concerned for his safety and well-being

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo teen arrested a day after allegedly assaulting and bullying victim

Teen taken into custody after wielding weapon and threatening driver at scene of car crash

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photo courtesy Ella Smiley)
Orcas near the beach thrill whale watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Most Read