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Budget shortfalls forcing some school districts to cut bus service

(iStock Photo)

Maple Ridge School District has cancelled buses to deal with its $1.7 million shortfall

PAC's advising some parents to begin car-pooling as districts grapple with low budgets

Hundreds of students who take school buses potentially affected as districts look to cut service

MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS1130) – School trustees all over Metro Vancouver are making some difficult financial decisions and it could hit you in the pocketbook.  They’re trying to balance their budgets and that could change how your kids get to and from school.

The Maple Ridge School District, for instance, has cancelled bus service to cut down a $1.7 million shortfall.

Sabrina Harker, who’s a Parent Advisory Council leader for Maple Ridge Elementary says none of her students are affected but the number of kids district-wide is in the hundreds.

“The average school size is anywhere between 350 to 600-plus students.  Essentially, 350 students who take the bus every day, or every year, that’s a whole school that they’re bussing in.”

“It means their parents are going to have to find alternate ways for them to get to school.  Either the parents are going to have to go into work late or leave work early to come pick up their children.”

She says parents may also have to look into before and after school care or car-pooling to get their children to school.  Harker is blaming their financial situation on the provincial government and hopes parents are able to come together to find a solution.

Meantime, there could be more calls on the Vancouver School Board to close some schools down with enrolment being the main issue.

There are more than 9,000 empty seats throughout the district, while about a third of the 110 schools in the city are less than three-quarters full, according to a report in today’s Vancouver Sun.

It’s more of an issue in East Vancouver and areas that used to have lots of children around.  However, schools downtown and near Olympic Village are bursting at the seams.