Roland Butler, Opposition Critic for Education and MHA for the District of
Port De Grave, is calling on Education Minister Joan Burke to address the
school busing problem facing many students and parents who live within the
1.6 kilometre policy.
Butler says that while he agrees with statements
made by Minister Burke that the policy of not providing bus service to
students who live within 1.6 kilometres of their school has not changed, the
Eastern School District is now enforcing this policy for the first time. Up
until now, the policy was not enforced and students were permitted to use
the bus if space was available. Unfortunately, the school board has cut the
number of buses in service which has eliminated space that was previously
"I am very disappointed that Minister Burke has sat back and allowed this
decision to be made," said Mr. Butler. "Many of the students and parents who
used the bus service every year now find themselves without arrangements to
transport their children to school. What is even more disturbing is that
this decision was made in June and hidden from parents until now. This
should have been publicized immediately so alternative arrangements could
have been made over the summer.
"While in Opposition, several Tory MHAs approached the previous
government to ensure all students could ride the bus, and even suggested
reducing the policy to 1 kilometre. The decision was made to allow all
students to use this service when space was available. This option has now
been removed completely and the silence of government MHAs is deafening.
"I have received numerous calls from my own disrict and communities
throughout the province. In Whitbourne, I have been advised that 45 students
will no longer be transported to school by bus. Other students in various
communities have to walk across the main highway to reach their school. I
have even spoken to a woman who babysits two children, and while the school
bus will transport them to and from her house because they live further up
the road, her own children are not allowed to use the bus. There is
something fundamentally wrong with this decision and it should be revisited
by the minister immediately.
"This current policy decision is another example of this government’s
lack of compassion for the needs of the people of this province. It once
again appears that Minister Burke is more concerned about saving a few
dollars than protecting the safety of children. I, and the parents involved,
believe this is disgraceful and should be fixed."