Horizon supports school van financing program

The Horizon School Division will help schools purchase new-style 15-passenger vans that can be used to transport students to extracurricular activities like sports games.

If a school submits a feasible plan to raise the money to buy one of the vans, worth around $50,000, the division will finance the purchase.

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The new-style 15-passenger vans are outfitted with new technology that make them a lot safer than the old-style vans that five schools in the division are still using.

“There have been provinces that have outlawed this [old-style] van,” sad Kevin Garinger, the division's director of education. “That hasn’t happened within this province. They’ve left it in the hands of school divisions and in Horizon we have been trying to limit the use of those vans because we feel it’s not as safe as other types of transportation, in particular school buses.”

Instead, schools have been using school buses, which require trained drivers or renting.

There was a debate by the board about the financing plans, with fears that schools would overwhelm the division with requests, but in the end, they decided that the director of education would take the necessary steps to control demand and administer the program.

The decision was made at the division’s Dec. 12 meeting.

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