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More money required for South East Cornerstone school bus purchases

Onboard microchip shortages, supply chain issues and other inflationary issues meant the cost of the buses has risen.
Cornerstone board office
The South East Cornerstone Public School Division's board recently held its April meeting.

WEYBURN - A few business items grabbed the attention of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s board members during their April 27 public meeting.

The meeting had been rescheduled from the original date of April 13 since southern Saskatchewan was embraced by a fierce blizzard that particular day.

Business manager and chief financial officer Shelley Toth informed the board the $3 million that had been set aside for the purchase of 28 new school buses was no longer enough, and that a further $354,216 was required in the budget to cover the purchase.

The buses are being purchased to cover bus routes formerly carried out by the contracted service provider First Student.

Beginning in September 2023, SECPSD will be taking over those routes, using their own drivers and buses following the cancellation of the contract with First Student.

Toth noted that items such as onboard microchip shortages, supply chain issues and other inflationary issues meant the cost of the buses had risen beyond the administration’s expectations, and the additional funds were required if they were going to complete the deal to procure the school buses.

A motion to add the funds to the budget was unanimously approved by the six board members in attendance in the boardroom, plus board member Tami Scott, who had joined the meeting online.

Toth also received permission to dispose of a number of files dating back to 2014 in accordance with rules and regulations issued by the Ministry of Education’s Retention and Disposal Guide, which allows for the disposal of certain records on a timely basis.

Three minor changes/additions to the board’s policy handbook were also approved at the April 27 meeting.

Lynn Little, director of education, noted the changes included work plan changes for board agendas, evaluation cycle date changes and policies for online meetings.

All were approved without further discussion.

Earlier in the meeting, Little presented a letter from the Terry Fox Foundation, thanking SECPSD for the contribution of $47,716.96 to add to cancer research efforts.

Little said 26 of SECPSD’s 37 schools held Terry Fox runs and/or walks to raise funds. She noted the three leading schools on that campaign included Carlyle Elementary School that raised over $8,300, followed by Carnduff and Arcola schools with slightly lesser amounts raised for the Fox Foundation.

The next public meeting for the SECPSD board will be held on the afternoon of May 18.