Kids who currently ride the school bus for $25 will be paying a lot more this year.
The Vernon School District has increased rider fees to $200 across the board, and $300 for some.
Eligible riders (those within the catchment area of their school) currently pay $25 but the fee is increasing to $200 for the 2021-22 year.
“This is absolutely insane,” parent Shannon Roach said.
French immersion students, and those in other programs of choice, will pay even more: $300.
The fee for courtesy riders within their school catchment will remain the same at $200. While those taking the bus to a school outside of their catchment area will pay $300.
“Should the rider need a second route, the same fee will apply for the second route,” reads the transportation rider fee schedule, which was approved Feb. 17. “Should the rider’s second address be located on the same route as the first address, only one rider fee will apply.”
Students who only take the bus one way will get a 50 per cent discount on the rider fee. But students who only ride the bus for one semester will not.
There are some discounts for those with more than two children. Family ridership fees are reduced by 50 per cent for the third child. The fourth and any additional children will only be charged $25 each.
The increased fees are needed to cover expenses, including six new routes required to implement eligible ridership from programs of choice at a cost of $50,000 per route. The increase in fees would bring in an estimated extra $300,000 if the same number of students continue to ride the bus.
The District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) had urged the school board to implement a lower fee.
“We believe that a fee range between $110-150 would be more than sufficient to cover the initially estimated shortfalls to align with the transportation policy,” DPAC transportation task force said in a letter to the board.