West Kelowna  

West Kelowna mom gets more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for school busing policy change

Petition pushes better busing

A West Kelowna mom has taken her push to get her kids, and many others, on the school bus to the online platform change.org, and she’s getting a lot of support.

More than 1,000 signatures have already been added to the petition, and it’s been up for less than a week.

Nicole Day has two children attending Mount Boucherie Secondary School, one in Grade 9 and one in Grade 11. They live at the top of Tallus Ridge, nearly 5 kilometres from the school.

Last year, her older child wasn't approved for busing. This year, her teen in Grade 9 got a seat, but her Grade 11 student again was denied.

Nicole says she’s been driving her kids to school, but that raises safety concerns.

“We were at the intersection of Ross and Bartley, just trying to turn right towards the light, where it’s like a short section there. There were cars coming and I almost got hit by a car coming the opposite way, trying to turn left onto that intersection. It’s just so congested, I’m also worried about how many more cars and drivers end up being in that area, for the kids’ safety. Kids are walking all over the place and there are way more cars there now,” she explained.

She questions the Central Okanagan School District’s walking distance requirements. The policy states To be eligible for school bus transportation students must live at least 3.0 kilometres from their elementary schools, 4.0 kilometres for middle school and 4.8 kilometres for secondary school.

The petition points to other safety concerns for kids who have to walk including the lack of sidewalks along some roads, poor lighting, homeless camps and wildlife.

Castanet reported last week that more than 450 students were on the waiting list for school bus transportation service in SD23. The vast majority attend Mount Boucherie Secondary School.

“All the parents I’ve spoken to in West Kelowna all applied in May, the first day, because we know what happens if we’re late, we don’t get a bus and we’ve already been without a bus for a whole year,” said Nicole.

Nicole isn’t sure what her next step will be because previous attempts to convince the school board to change the policy have failed.

She wants the busing shortage addressed immediately, not in the months or years to come, calling it an ongoing issue on the Westside that is only getting worse.

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