SD48 Brief: Late school start transportation could cost Sea to Sky School district $455k

As the Sea to Sky School District explores what a late start time for high schools could mean, its staff has prepared an early cost analysis of the impact on transportation.

The board first talked about investigating how delaying school start times could benefit teenage students, who may learn better if they are able to get more sleep.

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At the Nov. 13 School District 48 board's finance committee meeting, secretary-treasurer Mohammed Azim presented the initial findings to the board. 

The scenario is based on current transportation routes, calculating that to run school buses again at a later time, based on the five-day-a-week schedule in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, would cost just shy of $458,500,00.

Azim said staff are directed in the spring to see if it would be possible to accommodate late start times and what potential consequences, such as childcare, it could have.

Other consequences noted included the extra travel's impact on the lifespan of the buses, and the impact on day trips if all of the bus drivers are busier in the mornings. 

"We do have other options," Azim told the board. "In Whistler and in Squamish, we have easily the ability to get in touch with our municipal partners and start talking to them."

Azim said because the municipalities already provide transportation and busing, much of it could align with the school bus routes and may also align with timing. He suggested the municipalities might be willing to provide transportation for secondary students.

Whistler Secondary School has already begun a once-a-month late start, paying for the additional transportation costs out of the school's budget.

Superintendent Lisa McCullough told the board they wouldn't be deciding at the same meeting as the presentation, but to take the information for later use. She added the parameters could be tweaked, and noted this result was just a quick assessment, and not necessarily the final study.

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