Comox Valley School District bus policy still confusing people

School District 71's new busing policy has been causing some confusion as the first day of school approaches, but the school board and staff say they working hard to try to address any concerns.

School District 71’s new busing policy has been causing some confusion as the first day of school approaches, but the school board and staff say they working hard to try to address any concerns.

In late May, the school board voted to implement new bus routes, walk limits and adjusted bell times for the 2011-12 school year, while implementing a bus registration and pass system.

All students who wish to ride the bus this year must have registered for busing.

Students who meet the eligibility requirements will be provided with a bus pass, and starting Sept. 19, bus drivers will expect all students to present a bus pass when they get on the bus.

Some courtesy seats will become available in October for those who have applied for busing and do not meet the eligibility criteria, according to the school district website.

Eric Kozak was surprised when his family received what appeared to be a standard letter saying their children were deemed ineligible for busing and would not receive bus passes.

They live in the Glacier View Secondary Centre area, and their three children will all go to Queneesh Elementary School this year.

“We were kind of surprised because our kids had taken the bus last year, and we never moved and the school hasn’t moved,” said Kozak.

Last week, the Kozaks received an e-mail saying they will receive bus passes.

“It sounds like they’re backtracking,” said Kozak. “From the tone of the letter, it sounds like they wanted to eliminate a bus. I know there are several townhouses and complexes in the area, and I know a lot of parents were using that bus to get to Queneesh.”

Secondary walk limits have been reduced from 4.8 kilometers to four kilometers for this year, while elementary walk limits have been reduced to 1.6 kilometers for kindergarten to Grade 7.

Kozak says his wife was told the walk limit is 1.6 kilometres straight-line distance. Kozak did some digging on the school district website and found in their busing policy that distances are determined by the nearest possible route. He wrote to the school board saying he wants the district to follow its own policy.

Jillian Hastings has also been concerned about the changes to the bus system this year.

The Hastings live on Headquarters Road, and their children go to Miracle Beach Elementary School. Because they don’t go to their catchment school, they are not eligible for busing, explained Hastings.

“We can get courtesy seats, but my problem is I have two kids and what if they don’t have enough seats for both of them … also, we won’t know until October if they will have any seats,” she said. “If they don’t have room for them, how do they get to school?”

Hastings has six children, and her family has been going to Miracle Beach for 13 years. They’ve always had busing.

“I was shocked to see my kids weren’t eligible,” she said. “We’ve been going to that school for 13 years — why are they not eligible now? It’s hard for me. I have young kids. That’s what they’re looking forward to, taking the bus. They’re five and seven, and it’s the excitement. The youngest have always seen the oldest take the bus, and now all of a sudden, they can’t.”

School board chair Susan Barr says it was a mistake to contact parents in the Glacier View area and say there would be no bus, and their children will be bused to Queneesh when school starts.

“I’m not exactly sure what happened, but that route did seem to be dropped in the initial plan,” she said. “When we realized it was dropped, we immediately reinstated it. That was our error. it’s been corrected, and that bus is going ahead. The plan is to contact the parents (staff) have e-mail addresses for and let them know there will be a bus running from Glacier View to Queneesh.”

The walk limits have also been a source of confusion, and Barr hopes it has been cleared up.

“There seemed to be some confusion in the board’s direction about how far a person needs to live from the school to be within the walk limits,” she said.

The school board and district senior staff met last Thursday and clarified that it is is the shortest distance by road, she explained.

As for the uncertainty around finding enough space for all children in one family to ride the bus, Barr says they will do what they can to keep families together.

“(Superintendent Sherry Elwood) told us they’re trying to keep families together on a bus,” she said. “They’re going to do their best to make this work for families.”

Barr says there are a few areas where people live outside the four-kilometre secondary school walk limits — around Highland Secondary School and on Kentwood Road in Royston — and they were told they were ineligble for busing, but this has been corrected, and they will be able to take the bus next week.

Barr says the best thing people can do if they feel they should receive consideration outside the existing policy is to phone the school board office and ask for Carol Snead or Sheila Shanahan.

“They’ve been very quick trying to get this addressed before school starts,” she said. “By and large, the public is being super patient with us, and we really appreciate that. Hopefully this will result in a bus system that’s easier to use.”

Bus schedules and information, including interactive route maps, are available at

Just Posted

Temperatures are expected to soar by the weekend, with potentially record-breaking heat in the low 30Cs. Those looking to beat the heat in the ocean are advised to pack plenty of sunscreen and water. Black Press file photo
Potential record-breaking heatwave heading to the Comox Valley

“It’s the start of the season and we’re not quite acclimatized to warm temperatures”

Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed leadership of the Canadian Joint Operations Command on June 18. File photo
Vice-Admiral Auchterlonie assumes leadership of Canadian Joint Operations Command

On June 18, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie returned to the Canadian Joint Operations… Continue reading

Bill Anglin (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation president & 50/50 Sponsor), Robert Mulrooney (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation board director & 50/50 sponsor), Jessica Aldred (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation executive director), and Chris Morrison (Church St. Taphouse co-Owner and manager) in front of Church St. Taphouse in Comox. Photo submitted
Church St. tapping beer for Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation all week

With a heatwave hitting the Comox Valley this week, a beer on… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CSWM is working on engineering and design for the next landfill cell. Record file photo
CSWM makes budget change for new landfill cell

“It bears to note for the public, you’re paying for it one way or the other here.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Most Read