News

New mandatory bus driver training could cause driver shortage

The Alberta School Boards Association urgently requests funding for the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) for new bus drivers

Feb. 28, 2019, Edmonton, AB —Effective March 1, 2019, new school bus drivers will be required to complete an enhanced driver program called MELT. This costly program could cause a bus driver shortage, potentially resulting in children being unable to make it to school. This puts undue pressure on schools, school boards, parents and students alike.

“The truth is, 81 per cent of locally-elected public, separate and francophone school boards are reporting transportation deficits, with an average deficit of more than $500,000. This mandatory training program has been rushed in its implementation, and will only serve to put further strain on school board budgets. In fact, many schools boards are already diverting funds allocated for the classroom to cover the cost of transportation. With the MELT program in place, the number of boards being forced to divert funds will only increase.”

-Lorrie Jess, President, ASBA

“We all believe the safety of students is of paramount importance, this is why school boards have secured proper training and supervision for students taking the bus. Parents deserve to feel secure in the understanding that their children will be transported to and from school in vehicles operated by trained professionals. Parents also deserve to feel secure in the understanding that their children will be transported to school in a timely manner. In conjunction with educational partners, ASBA is urging government to provide the funding that covers the full cost of the MELT program.”

-Lorrie Jess, President, ASBA

The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) serves Alberta’s 61 locally-elected public, separate and francophone school boards. For more information visit, www.asba.ab.ca.

 

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Media inquiries:

Rae Thygesen

Manager, Communications, ASBA

780.721.5910

rthygesen@asba.ab.ca