ATHABASCA/BARRHEAD/WESTLOCK — Neither the Pembina Hills School Division nor Aspen View Public Schools will be applying for a portion of the $20 million in new funding that the province announced recently to assist jurisdictions with purchasing new buses.
On Sept. 8, the province announced a new one-year initiative to aid the 24 school boards across Alberta that partially or fully operate their own school bus fleet with buying approximately 115 new school buses, which cost about $170,000 each.
“By advancing these funds, several school divisions will be able to purchase more buses sooner and help get more kids to school. This will help increase the number of kids taking school buses, reduce ride times and save Alberta families money,” said Minister of Education Demetrios Nicolaides, in a release.
School boards that were interested in accessing the grants would be required to submit an application to the province prior to an Oct. 31 deadline.
While Pembina Hills does have its own bus fleet, director of transportation Shantelle Haitel indicated they wouldn’t be submitting an application because they just received 10 new buses this summer.
“(We) feel efficiently equipped for our existing routes,” she added.
Aspen View, meanwhile, contracts out its busing, so the division would not be eligible for this program.
New transportation eligibility criteria are still slated to come into effect on Sept. 1, 2024, which will see an estimated 80,000 students across the province become eligible for transportation services.