Skip to content

Three rural families can be transported to different area schools, PSSD decides

Prairie South School Division received 18 requests from rural families this year for changes to where their children attend school, and after review, approved three requests and denied the rest.
First rider program
Waiting for a school bus. File photo

Prairie South School Division received 18 requests from rural families this year for changes to where their children attend school, and after review, approved three requests and denied the rest.

During their recent May board meeting, board trustees received the transportation catchment area applications report. The report explained that individuals wanting to change their children’s school catchment area and receive transportation to another school must apply and seek permission.

After discussing the issue, trustees unanimously approved a motion to accept the report from the rural catchment committee that had received and reviewed the submissions.

Discussion

Transportation manager Lonny Holmes and his bus route support officer met with the rural catchment committee in late April to review the requests they had received from families about changes to rural catchment areas, he explained.

The group used a set of guiding principles to lead their discussions and help them determine whether the requests should be approved or denied. The members reviewed each request individually and then decided.

“It was my first time through the process and it was very interesting. At the same time, it’s a bit of a task,” Holmes said. “And I appreciate people’s time and knowledge for sharing information because some of them have previous knowledge (about the families and their requests) that helped the process along.”

Darcy Pryor, board vice-chair and trustee for sub-division No. 1, thanked Holmes for his efforts and agreed that the process was hard work. 

“They aren’t just numbers when you look at (this). They’re actually people and situations,” she said. “So, we do really take careful time and consideration when we’re approving or denying these.”

The rural catchment committee makes decisions that it believes are in students’ best interests by using the guiding principles, which is why it would never force students to move to a new school after they’ve started kindergarten, Pryor continued. 

Other principles the group considers with the applications are ride times to and from school and whether the change would negatively affect smaller rural schools, she added. 

“I’ve said it since the beginning of being a trustee: I think these rural catchment application changes are the hardest work we do as a rural trustee,” said board chair Giselle Wilson. “These are families doing what is in the best interests for their children and we have to make the hard decisions around that. 

“I don’t always like it, and I wish that we could always give everybody what they wanted, but it never really works out that way.”

Applications

The three applications that the committee recommended for approval include:

  • A family designated for Coronach wants to go to Bengough; the board approved this request as a pilot project in 2020-21, will continue it for another year, and will review it before the 2023-24 school year
  • A family designated for Lafleche wants to go to Kincaid; the Kincaid catchment area is less than one kilometre from the residence
  • A family designated for Lindale wants to go to Eyebrow; the Eyebrow catchment area is around three kilometres from the residence

The next PSSD board meeting is Tuesday, June 7.