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Vaugeois denounces bus funding cuts

By Adam Riley Feb 9, 2024 | 10:37 AM

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A decision by the Ford Government which has resulted in the doubling of school bus eligibility distances in the city for students is being called an attack by Thunder Bay – Superior North MPP Lise Vaugeois.

“To me these are calculated decisions designed to really undermine the sustainability of our public education system, I’ll say that very directly.”

Last week the Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay informed parents in a letter of the changes taking effect this fall.

Vaugeois says the funding formula is a ‘cookie cutter’ approach for all of Ontario, which doesn’t take into account regional challenges, such as minus 30 weather, later sunrise and earlier sunsets, as well as the lack of or limited use of sidewalks in the winter, as seen in Northwestern Ontario.

Parents have already reached out to Vaugeois who says this will create difficulties for employment and will effectively create a class structure with those who can afford to pick up their children, others who will be limited in their work hours, and others who do not have any access to transportation at all.

She believes the province can and should do more for students.

“If we prioritize funding our publicly funded education, the way it needs to be funded, putting the students first and that means reliable stable funding at the levels needed for where we live.”

Vaugeois adds a per-pupil formula is just not going to work for this region and needs to be adapted for its specific circumstances.