Ranchero parents say the loss of a school bus route is having ramifications on their children’s education. (Pixabay)

Ranchero parents say loss of school bus limiting options for kids

School district not required to bus students going to school outside of catchment area

Ranchero parents say the elimination of their school bus route has limited options for their children’s education.

The “Snail” bus route, which travelled between Ranchero and Salmon Arm schools, was reviewed by School District #83 in April 2018 and discontinued in the fall of the same year. Ranchero parent Michelle Gauthier says her daughter was able to ride the bus to attend French Immersion programs offered at Bastion Elementary and Shuswap Middle School (SMS).

“Now it is my son’s turn and he has no bus.” said Gauthier, who must now arrange for her children’s transportation.“Either I’ve got to leave work or my husband has to leave work and pick her up and drive her home and then drive back to work and then go back home.”

Gauthier went to the SD83 Board of Trustees about the issue and says she was told the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) would be more helpful. So she attended a PAC meeting where she was told to contact the school district’s transportation manager and send a letter to the board.

“We are kind of getting pushed off to different areas so we’re not really sure,” Gauthier said.

Read more: Sixty-six students from across Shuswap attend ceremony at Splatsin Centre

Read more: Updates from the North Okanagan-Shuswap school board

In addition to providing transportation to school, Gauthier believes the bus service could help in other ways.

“I feel like other kids would use the bus to access things in the inner city, like sports programs or art programs or different things in town,” said Gauthier. “We don’t have public transportation – our kids are kind of landlocked where they’re at.”

Gauthier worked with Michaela Bugarski and other Ranchero parents to write to the school board, outlining nine concerns the parents shared. The letter addresses issues ranging from unequal opportunity for education to environmental concerns due to the estimated 16 parents having to drive their children to school.

Read more: SD#83 warms to Sicamous bio-heat project

Read more: School District 83 ahead of the province on providing hygiene products

In response, the parents received a letter from Alanna Cameron, secretary-treasurer for School District #83. She says that while Ranchero Elementary students may enrol in programs like the Late French Immersion Program at SMS, school district regulation states “parents shall be responsible for any special transportation arrangements that result from the request of the transfer.”

Ranchero parents offered to pay a fee to help cover the cost of an added bus route but Cameron says the cost of an additional run is approximately $60,000 per year, making a “fee for service” option not viable.

Read more: ‘Save our principals’: Terrace students walk out to protest staffing changes

Read more: B.C. school district funding changes delayed until after next year

“If we were to consider providing transportation services for students to attend French Immersion programs at schools outside of their catchment area in order to be equitable, we would have to offer this to all students, not just the students in the Ranchero area.”

The bus route changed due to Ranchero Elementary School expanding to Grade 8, meaning students could do the full eight years there.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Students and parents in Ranchero came together in 2018 to create a video expressing their concerns over the changes to bus routes in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District. (File photo)

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Downtown Salmon Arm cancels Halloween Treat Trail

First time in 30 years community event won’t be taking place

Shuswap BC SPCA launches spay/neuter program

Program available to low-income residents in the region

Salmon Arm Pride Project festival planned for October

Exhibition designed to bring awareness to LGBTQ2S+ issues through the arts

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

Most Read