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June 25, 2010

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New school buses unveiled with more cost cutting studies

BURNABY—The BC government announcement that it is providing 106 new green school buses will be welcomed in school districts throughout B.C.

However, the June 25 announcement included a repeat of government’s desire to further study cost savings options such as bulk purchasing.

And while new buses will be more efficient, districts with higher-than-average transportation costs have faced years of underfunding as a result of a freeze in the supplementary transportation support in the education funding formula.

The government announcement also points to contracted out transportation services as a way to benefit from reduced labour costs, raising concerns about increased pressure on districts to contract out these and other services.

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill says that CUPE is very concerned about the B.C. government’s apparently unfailing belief that its job is to erode public services and encourage privatization.

“Whether it is an attack on publicly delivered transportation and food services in the school system, or on affordable rental space for community services like child care, this government continues to send a very negative message about public services,” says O’Neill.

O’Neill says that CUPE is very concerned about school transportation policy and student safety and would be prepared to work with government and other stakeholders to study this area.

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