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East Lancs school transport price hikes discussed
MORE than 800 people had their say during a public consultation on proposed price hikes for school transport, the county council confirmed.
The majority of the 845 responses were against the changes, but the council said it was too early to disclose exact figures after the consultation closed on Friday.
Costs could rise by as much as 25 per cent as the council tries to reduce its £8.5m bill.
The council said half the money spent on school trans-port was ‘discretionary’ and not legally required.
As part of the plans, parent contributions of £380 per year for children attending a faith school which is not their nearest school could go up 25 per cent and increase year-on-year thereafter.
Other proposed changes include reviewing provision of taxis for pupils who live in remote areas not served by school bus routes, removing a previous eligibility to free transport when parents move house further away from school during exam years, and increasing school bus fares by up to 60p per return journey, depending on length.
Coun Ged Mirfin, a governor at St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington, said: “I can tell you quite categorically that we are certainly not all millionaires in the Ribble Valley and this measure will have a negative financial impact on many families who are trying to do the best for their kids.”
Coun Mirfin, who is a member of Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “There are a large number of families who make the effort to send their children to a faith school providing the type of education they really want which may involve travelling slightly further than the local feeder school.
“We should actively support them rather than doing everything we can to hinder them.”
County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “We have been doing this for the last three years. This was started under the previous Conservative administration and there has not been and increase for the last three years.”
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