Future of Lethbridge School Bussing

bus

Hello everyone,

As requested from our divisional office, here is a document with some templates to assist you if you would like to write a letter to the City of Lethbridge in response to their recent resolution to sever the transportation agreement between itself, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division, and Lethbridge School Division.

These templates are intended to serve as starting points.  Please feel free to copy, adjust, add personal details to suit your own perspectives on this matter.

The email addresses for the City of Lethbridge Council are:

mayor@lethbridge.ca; council@lethbridge.caChris.Spearman@lethbridge.ca;

Mark.Campbell@lethbridge.caJeff.Carlson@lethbridge.caJeff.Coffman@lethbridge.ca;

Belinda.Crowson@lethbridge.caBlaine.Hyggen@lethbridge.ca;

Joe.Mauro@lethbridge.caRob.Miyashiro@lethbridge.caRyan.Parker@lethbridge.ca

Some additional resources for you regarding this issue:

  1. The joint press release sent out by the Lethbridge school divisions on November 25, 2019, can be found at https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/_cabinet/2/18/November_25,_2019_-_Joint_Release_City_Bus.pdf
  2. The presentation that the school divisions presented on December 2, 2019, Community Issues Committee Meeting of City Council can be found at https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/_cabinet/2/18/Student_Transportation_Nov._26_.pptx.pdf
  3. The Lethbridge school jurisdictions just published some Q&A regarding bus transportation at https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/whatsNew.cfm?whatID=249.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and support of our school jurisdictions and community. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Sincerely,

Greg Kostiuk

 

 

TEMPLATE 1 – From Lethbridge Ratepayer

First Name, Last Name

Street Address

Lethbridge, Alberta TXX XXX

Yourmail@mail.com

 

December 10, 2019

 

Mayor and Council, City of Lethbridge

2nd Floor, City Hall, 910 – 4th Avenue South

Lethbridge, AB   T1J 0P6

 

Dear Mayor Spearman and Lethbridge City Council,

I am writing today to speak against the current resolution that would sever the 50-year transportation agreement that exists between the City of Lethbridge, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division, and Lethbridge School Division.

I understand that the City of Lethbridge needs to make difficult decisions, ensuring that our city’s resources are being used in a fiscally responsible manner.  However, it seems clear that the current yellow school bus system, which the school divisions pay for, does not directly cost taxpayers anything.  In fact, it appears that the bussing infrastructure supplied by the city is better utilized as a result of this mutually beneficial partnership. The recent argument by the city claiming “risk” is the primary rationale for the termination of this contract also seems to fall short when the school jurisdictions appear more than willing to discuss the city’s concerns regarding insurance and address them accordingly.

What is most upsetting to me about this situation is the lack of integrity demonstrated by City Council’s conduct.  The resolution made was a unilateral one that failed to consult, or at least inform, the school divisions.  Further, it appears no thought was given to how this decision would impact students and families, especially those in most need – only the city’s bottom line.

I sincerely hope that you will reconsider this decision and renew conversation with the school divisions to come to a solution that works for all involved.

Sincerely,

XXX

 

 

TEMPLATE 2 – From Lethbridge Ratepayer (Parent focused)

First Name, Last Name

Street Address

Lethbridge, Alberta TXX XXX

Yourmail@mail.com

 

December 10, 2019

 

Mayor and Council, City of Lethbridge

2nd Floor, City Hall, 910 – 4th Avenue South

Lethbridge, AB   T1J 0P6

 

Dear Mayor Spearman and Lethbridge City Council,

I am writing today in response to the recent discussions regarding the City of Lethbridge discontinuing bussing services for Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and Lethbridge School Division families.

As a parent, I have generally been very pleased with the number of services that have been offered to Lethbridge families.  These are services that make this community healthy and strong in my opinion.  I recognize that a large part of these initiatives being offered is the result of varying partnerships in our community.  I have always been very impressed with the City of Lethbridge’s leadership in making these projects a reality.

However, the potential loss of the transportation partnership with the Lethbridge school divisions means that, in order to pay for a profit-seeking bus provider, either transportation fees will need to be charged by the school jurisdictions or funds will need to be taken from the classroom.  This last option is, frankly, untenable given how complex our classrooms have become. As a result, families will ultimately be forced to bear the brunt of these additional expenses.

As you know, these are difficult economic times.  Extra charges may be absorbed by some, but we know there are many in our community who can barely afford the current costs required to meet their children’s basic needs, let alone transport them to school.

I respectfully request that you reopen the conversation with the school jurisdictions to discuss a solution that better suits your needs, and the needs of your combined community members.

Sincerely,

XXX

TEMPLATE 3 – From Lethbridge Taxpayer (Impacts on Lethbridge focused)

First Name, Last Name

Street Address

Lethbridge, Alberta TXX XXX

Yourmail@mail.com

 

December 10, 2019

 

Mayor and Council, City of Lethbridge

2nd Floor, City Hall, 910 – 4th Avenue South

Lethbridge, AB   T1J 0P6

 

Dear Mayor Spearman and Lethbridge City Council,

I am very upset to hear that City Council plans to dissolve the current bussing agreement it holds with Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and Lethbridge School Division.

City Council claims this decision is based on its desire to eliminate insurance risk for the City.  This argument is based on fear and circumstance and fails to take into consideration the action and solution-oriented leadership that one expects from our City’s government.

The reality is that this decision has serious impacts on Lethbridge’s larger community, and these concerns should supersede the risk assessment priority that the Council seems to favour. For instance, this will impact the employment of many bus drivers in Lethbridge and their ability to make a living in our city.  This certainly impacts the school divisions, who have been given an unfair and inappropriate timeline to make alternate arrangements or prepare a smooth transition for an operation of this magnitude.  Mostly though, this will impact Lethbridge families, who will be forced to either absorb the costs of a for-profit operator directly or through potential cuts to classrooms.

Given the current realities, it is my hope that the City of Lethbridge will reconsider this resolution and demonstrate better transparency and consultation with its partners and community members to come to a solution that truly benefits the entire City of Lethbridge and not just its insurance providers.

Sincerely,

XXX

 

 

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