By Lethbridge Herald on May 11, 2020.
Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf will be chairing a new student transportation task force that has been struck to provide recommendations on the future of student transportation across the province.
“A key component of the elementary and secondary student experience in Alberta is the transportation services we provide to them. The reliability and efficiency of busing systems has a significant impact on student engagement in rural and urban areas. There is ample opportunity to improve the current student transportation system. I am thrilled to begin exploring ways through this committee that we can improve this often understated but crucial service,” said Neudorf in the government’s news release.
Members will focus on issues related to student transportation, including student safety, costs, eligibility, partner collaboration and the responsibilities of school authorities and industry partners. Their scope of work will cover busing for students attending publicly funded schools in urban and rural communities. Members will also consider various service delivery models and services for students with disabilities when developing their recommendations.
“We committed to improving and modernizing the education system in Alberta. Student transportation is an integral part of the system that needs further attention to address the challenges facing our partners who deliver this service. I have asked this task force to explore options, while putting Albertans’ safety first due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will provide their best advice on how the system can be improved, become more efficient and become more cost-effective in serving Alberta’s students,” said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange in the release.
Alberta Education officials met with school authorities across the province when developing the new education funding model for the 2020-21 school year. During these consultations, it became clear that student transportation needed further conversations and review.
Joining Neudrof on the task force are Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard, Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Glasgo, Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner and Calgary-South East MLA Matt Jones.
The team also includes 13 members from the student transportation industry, community partners and key education partner organizations. They will be supported by officials from Alberta Education and Alberta Transportation.