Rural School Bus Operators Plan a Family Day BBQ for Education Minister Liz Sandals

Nearly 100 school buses circled Queens Park last year when the Liberal government broke their campaign promise and refused to implement the recommendations of a task force into school bus contracting. (CNW Group/Independent School Bus Operators Association)

A school bus operator from Arthur, ON, whose family business of 60 years was wiped out in a government pilot project, confronts her MPP, Jim Wilkinson, for failing to represent the interests of his rural constituents. Jim Wilkinson was defeated in the October 2011 election. (CNW Group/Independent School Bus Operators Association)

Over 20 school bus companies across Ontario have gone out of business since the provincial government changed the way it awards contracts. School bus operators are taking the government to court to prevent the confiscation of their businesses. (CNW Group/Independent School Bus Operators Association)

GUELPH, Feb. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - Family-owned school bus businesses across Ontario have invited new Education Minister Liz Sandals to join them for a BBQ at her constituency office on 173 Woolwich Street in Guelph on Monday February 18th at 12:00 noon.

ISBOA President Steve Hull of Petrolia plans to be in Guelph with his family.  "If Premier Wynne wants to show that she understands rural Ontario and small business, she can start by undoing the damage the Liberal government has done to school bussing."

A 2012 Task Force into school bus contracting recommended a moratorium and an independent review of how school bus routes are awarded.  Minister Sandals' predecessor, Laurel Broten, ignored that report.  Instead, the Ministry of Education continues to pressure school boards to use a procurement process that would create local monopolies.  Currently 24 small business owners have been forced to take their only customer to court to get a fair hearing of the legality and appropriateness of RFP's for this industry.  A full trial will take place in June 2013 in Kingston.

Short-term savings for the provincial government will turn into long-term loss of businesses for rural Ontario if the Liberal government continues to force school boards to change their procurement practices, with no input from trustees.

The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) is warning school officials and parents alike that Queen's Park is jeopardizing safe, competitive, and sustainable school bus operations.  In the short run, service will suffer.  In the long run, rates will skyrocket.

ISBOA President Steve Hull of Petrolia plans to be in Guelph with his family.  "If Premier Wynne wants to show that she understands rural Ontario and small business, she can start by undoing the damage the Liberal government has done to school bussing."

According to ISBOA Director Frank Healey, a school bus operator from Smiths Falls and a plaintiff in the law suit that will be heard in June in Kingston, the Ministry of Education has failed to do the local market assessment required by the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act (BPSAA). "That's the irony of the whole exercise," explains Healey.  "Competitive tendering, when applied to school bussing, will virtually eliminate the competition that already exists."

The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) represents over 100 school bus companies, servicing over 2000 school bus routes across the province.  ISBOA has a website (www.isboa.ca) for advocacy and information. ISBOA's goal is to involve the public and local trustees in the struggle to preserve competitive rates and funding for safety in student transportation. 

Image with caption: "Nearly 100 school buses circled Queens Park last year when the Liberal government broke their campaign promise and refused to implement the recommendations of a task force into school bus contracting. (CNW Group/Independent School Bus Operators Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130215_C6010_PHOTO_EN_23802.jpg

Image with caption: "A school bus operator from Arthur, ON, whose family business of 60 years was wiped out in a government pilot project, confronts her MPP, Jim Wilkinson, for failing to represent the interests of his rural constituents. Jim Wilkinson was defeated in the October 2011 election. (CNW Group/Independent School Bus Operators Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130215_C6010_PHOTO_EN_23801.jpg

Image with caption: "Over 20 school bus companies across Ontario have gone out of business since the provincial government changed the way it awards contracts. School bus operators are taking the government to court to prevent the confiscation of their businesses. (CNW Group/Independent School Bus Operators Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130215_C6010_PHOTO_EN_23800.jpg

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/02/15/20130215_C6010_DOC_EN_23805.pdf

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/02/15/20130215_C6010_DOC_EN_23803.pdf

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/02/15/20130215_C6010_DOC_EN_23804.pdf

SOURCE: Independent School Bus Operators Association



For further information:


Karen Cameron
(289)668-4009
www.isboa.ca