Ontario Reviews Student Transportation to Improve School Bus Service for Students and Families
Review Focuses on More Effective, Equitable and Accountable Transportation Service
TORONTO — Sam Oosterhoff, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, today announced that the Government of Ontario is moving forward with a review of the student transportation funding formula to achieve a more efficient and accountable student transportation system and improve the transportation experience for students across the province.
First announced in March 2019, the review responds to calls from student transportation partners to improve the funding formula, which could be more responsive to the changing needs and costs encountered by school boards. The review is also a follow-up to the Auditor General's 2015 value-for-money audit that recommended the government revisit the funding formula.
"Parents and taxpayers deserve the most reliable and effective bus service possible, where every tax dollar we invest is maximized to benefit Ontario's students," said Parliamentary Assistant Oosterhoff. "With student transportation costs projected to be over $1 billion this school year, it's critically important that we ensure value for money so we are better serving students in rural and urban communities."
In order to allow student transportation sector partners to share their expertise, experience and ideas for the review, the ministry is establishing a Student Transportation Advisory Group that will meet with the Parliamentary Assistant and ministry staff over the coming months. Stakeholders and ministry officials will discuss the funding formula, as well as other topics, including consortia models and operations, and student transportation procurement. The government is approaching the review with three goals to guide decision-making:
- Fiscal responsibility and accountability; and
- Evidence-based decision making.
"Every day, more than 830,000 students are transported back and forth from school safely, and on time, thanks to the terrific work of school bus drivers and the hard-working staff who support them," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "By launching this funding review with our sector partners, we are taking action to achieve a more efficient and accountable student transportation system that continues to deliver the high-quality service that students and parents can depend on."
- In August 2019, the province announced the continuation of the school bus driver retention program which provides funding incentives for school bus drivers that provide continuous service throughout the year.
- In the 2019-20 school year, funding for student transportation is projected to be more than $1 billion.
- More than 830,000 students are transported each school day in Ontario.