Liewicki Leaks: Transport your kids yourself

Nathan Liewicki
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It was not until partway through my Grade 10 year that the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) created closed boundaries for high school students. 


One year earlier and I would have been forced to choose from a trio of high schools closer to my home.

Instead, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to attend school at the best dual academic and athletic high school in the city: Strathcona Composite High School.

In addition to being a successful student athlete, I was an avid musician who achieved provincial recognition by being named to the Alberta High School Honour Band my senior year.

To this day, my fondest high school memories are those tied to music and my Music 20 and 30 teacher — Mr. Ken Klause.

Like most of my friends, I transported myself to and from high school via the bus, and not the cheese wagon I got picked on while riding during my junior high days, but the city bus.

Granted, there were often days I typified the typical teenager. I stayed up late playing computer games, or watching television, and proceeded to smack the snooze button four or five times before rolling out of bed — only to realize I needed my mom or dad to go out of their way and drop me off at school so I would not have to absorb the wrath of my teachers.

At the time, the EPSB did not budget money to provide transportation to high school students, and maybe even junior high and elementary school students, who attended schools outside the boundary.

In recent years, I know the division has relinquished its once tight grip on restricting students from attending schools outside their boundaries, or catchment areas. Whether or not EPSB foots the transportation tab for students to be transported to and from school from outside their boundaries, I have no idea.

Regardless, I believe that students should be allowed to attend whatever school they want to go to in their city, or region, even if it is outside of their designated catchment area.

I feel the same way about this in Moose Jaw and the surrounding areas that encompass the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) and the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division.

At Tuesday’s PSSD board meeting, two representatives from a rural-based School Community Council gave a presentation to the board regarding a transportation issue.

The gist was that some students who live in their catchment area are being transported by school bus to a school in another catchment area — on the division’s dime.

Board members acknowledged the complexity of the issue, which is partially the result of past actions on the behalf of previous PSSD boards, such as grandfathering and adding buffer zones to catchment areas.

That could be why one family requested Prairie South transport kids to two different schools.

However, the board noted that amendments to some of the policies currently in place must be considered. As one board member said, “it’s a work in a progress.”

Parents, as entitled as some do feel, who feel that their local school board should accommodate their request to bus their child to a school outside their boundary are full of themselves.

If you are a parent that, for example, lives near Coronach, but want your child to attend school in Assiniboia, I have no issue with that. In fact, I support you — as long as you are making your own arrangements to transport your child to and from that location.

Should it be impossible to make said arrangements that — in my books — is tough luck Chuck.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

Organizations: Strathcona Composite High School, Prairie South School Division, Alberta High School Honour Band Holy Trinity Catholic School Division PSSD board School Community Council

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Coronach, Assiniboia

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