School bus solution sought

A solution is being sought to what some view as ''inequities'' in the north coast school bus service between Seacliff and Dunedin.

Waikouaiti Coast community board chairman Gerard Collings told a recent board meeting he met Dunedin list MP Michael Woodhouse and Ministry of Education staff last month to discuss changes to the way school bus services were being funded, after some pupils legally not entitled to use the service were found on the bus.

Ministry staff confirmed at the meeting they believed they were applying the current policy, Mr Collins said, but added the school transport policy was to be considered for review.

The ministry staff also agreed towrite to primary schools in the community board area and to Dunedin secondary schools advising them to make it clear to all prospective students what the ministry policy did and did not provide for in relation to transport assistance, to allow parents to make an informed choice.

Late last year, Dunedin high schools were advised by the Ministry school bus policies would be enforced on the north coast routes from the beginning of 2013.

A survey in 2012 revealed some ineligible pupils were using the school bus services to travel to Dunedin schools.

State school pupils got free transport to the nearest state school, Logan Park High School, and pupils of integrated schools were also be given free transport to their schools.

However, all pupils attending other schools had to pay for transport.

Subsequently, a commercial school bus service operating between Waikouaiti and Warrington to take secondary school pupils to Dunedin schools was discontinued, as the numbers using the service did not make the service viable.

Mr Collings said he would write to the Ministry of Education expressing concern regarding the current policy, in particular the inequity of entitlement between students.

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