Western School Division partners with Pembina Valley Childcare Centre to safely transport students – PembinaValleyOnline.com3 min read
A new service agreement has been reached between Western School Division (WSD) and Pembina Valley Childcare Centre (PVCC) to provide transportation for students to and from Morden schools and daycares.
PVCC Past President, Angela Hildebrand, explained with aging vans and discouragement from Manitoba Early Learning and Childcare (MELCC) from providing transportation of kids, they needed to find a safe way to meet the growing need.
“Our daycare center is set a little bit further away than a lot of centers in other areas,” she said. “In other centers, sometimes school divisions do provide transportation, sometimes the daycare center is within the school, and sometimes the daycare centers are able to walk the kids to school. So, we looked at all these different options, but unfortunately with the distance away from the school, those options weren’t available to us. So, we approached the school board to see if they would be able to partner with us to offer transportation to the students to and from school.”
The deal was two years in the making, and WSD Board Chair, Brian Fransen, shed some light on why it couldn’t happen right away.
“The daycare in Morden contacted the school division to see if it would be possible to partner in this sort of way, and right at that time, we were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had special busing requirements and there were a whole bunch of other things going on where it wasn’t really the right time. As time went on, things changed with what our expectations were and what our understanding was about what we could do.”
As of the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, an agreement was in place.
In the December 12th WSD Board Meeting Bussing Report, 69 spaces are used to transport students via a WSD dedicated bus before and after school, as well as at lunch for kindergarten students.
Fransen explained how it is financed.
“What we have arranged with the daycare, any additional costs we are incurring as the school division for this service is being compensated by the daycare. So, we’re basically providing this service at cost.”
Hildebrand said the two Morden centers and the parents are all very happy for the service.
“Before, when we were looking at this and approaching the school board, we polled our families to see if they would be willing to pay extra fees and how much they would be willing to pay. All of the families are willing to pay for a service that is safe and that provides that peace of mind. They know that their kids are getting on at the end of the day, and that somebody’s counting on them getting off the bus at the end of the day at the daycare center.”
Fransen noted one of the board priorities is Deepening Community Relationships, and this partnership is a way of meeting a need in the community.