School divisions in the province will be receiving about $8.2 million in additional funding for student transportation under a provincial program being reinstated in response to recent increased diesel costs, officials said.
The Alberta government announced Wednesday that it is reinstating the Fuel Price Contingency Program to help public, separate, francophone and public charter school authorities while monthly average diesel prices exceed $1.25 per litre.
The program will be enacted retroactively to March and will remain in place for the 2022-23 school year.
“By providing further fuel cost relief to support transportation services for more than 300,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students, we are helping prevent service reductions and additional fees for families,” Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, said in a press release.
“With high diesel prices expected to continue, Alberta’s government continues its commitment to ensuring school boards and public charter schools have predictable and sustainable transportation funding.”
The program will provide about $8.2 million in additional student transportation funding from March through June based on an estimated average diesel price of $1.80 per litre.
Eligible school authorities will receive payment for four months according to established bus route distances.
All school divisions in the province are eligible for relief under the Fuel Price Contingency Program, Minister of Education spokesperson Katherine Stavropoulos told Great West Media.
Marilyn Dennis is the president of the Alberta School Boards Association.
“We appreciate the government’s commitment to supporting a strong transportation system in our communities,” Dennis said in the same release. “This funding will ensure that students can continue getting to school safely without significant cost increases to school boards.”
Tahra Sabir, president, Association of School Business Officials of Alberta, added, “We appreciate the government’s continued support for education and that they have recognized the higher than expected fuel costs for the current school year by providing increased funding retroactively to March. School authorities will benefit from greater certainty next school year as fuel costs remain high.”
The Alberta government plans to continue monitoring fuel costs into the 2022-23 school year and will provide cost relief accordingly, said LaGrange.
The estimated average cost of diesel in Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie over the past four months has been $1.80 per/litre, the province says.