Dear Parents –
Providence will continue to offer free bussing for eligible students for the 2014-2015 school year. To better manage dramatically increasing transportation costs, we will be changing service providers for bussing some students beginning September, 2014. First Student Canada, a well-known company that provides safe, reliable, and cost-effective student transportation services, will be providing all transportation services. The union representing Handibus employees affected by these changes has been speaking to the media. The media have approached families in front of our schools for comment. We wanted to give you some background.
Providence will be making some changes to its transportation services for approximately 130 of the 385 students bussed each day, in order to control dramatically increasing transportation costs. Beginning in September 2014, First Student Canada, which already transports the majority of our students, will be our sole service provider.
As a preschool for children with disabilities, Providence is committed to ensuring that our programs are accessible to all families. Because of that commitment, we do not charge families for transportation costs. More than 75% of our 500+ students are bussed every day, and we are one of the only independent preschools in Calgary that does not charge parents for this service.
“Our transportation costs have risen dramatically over the past three years, and are simply not sustainable,” says Rhonda Conway, President. “As a non-profit organization, we face the difficult challenge of balancing our costs with the long-term sustainability of the organization. We don’t want our transportation costs to take away from our capacity to provide direct therapeutic and educational services to our students.”
“All of our students who are eligible for bussing services will continue to be able to access this free service,” explains Conway. “We are simply shifting to a sole service provider in an effort to manage increased costs.”