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School boards to lobby government for cameras on school buses

Cameras could catch drivers who ignore the flashing red lights and

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Cameras could catch drivers who ignore the flashing red lights and "Stop" sign. (FILE PHOTO)

The Brandon School Division is on board with putting traffic cameras on school buses.

At the annual Manitoba School Boards Association convention in Winnipeg, which wrapped up on Saturday, trustees passed a motion to lobby the government to put cameras on school buses.

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS AT THIS YEAR’S CONVENTION

  • Floyd Martens, a trustee from Dauphin-area Mountain View School Division, has been acclaimed president of the Manitoba School Boards Association. He succeeds Seine River trustee Robert Rivard.
  • Louis Riel trustee Wayne Ruff is the urban vice-president and Ken Cameron of Minnedosa-area Rolling River was elected vice-president for school divisions with fewer than 6,000 students.
  • The Manitoba School Boards Association wants the provincial government to assume all capital and operating costs for having mandated that by 2017, class size will be capped at 20 kids in kindergarten to Grade 3.
  • As the province implements uniform report cards, they should be grouped into kindergarten to Grade 4 early years, grades 5 to 8 middle years, and grades 9 to 12 senior years sets, school trustees said Friday at their annual convention.
  • Not the first time this has been raised — school trustees want exterior cameras on school buses to ensure motorists obey traffic laws. And the MSBA wants the provincial government to pay the costs of buying and installing that equipment.
  • Speed up the approval and installation of capital projects to accommodate special-needs students in schools, trustees told Education Minister Nancy Allan Friday.
  • “Sometimes, students have graduated before the requisite facilities have been put in place,” grumbled St. James-Assiniboia trustee Craig Johnson.
  • Trustees will give further study to the Winnipeg School Division’s plea to the province not to issue any more liquor licences or approve liquor outlets within 1,000 metres of schools.
  • WSD trustee Cathy Collins said she sees safety problems because of inner-city hotels close to schools such as Sister MacNamara, Sacre Coeur and Pinkham.
  • Louis Riel trustee Tom Parker said the focus should be on areas of high crime, not everywhere in the province. Sunrise trustee Mike Lawson scoffed at the proposal: “It’s a bit of a parent issue — MSBA has bigger fish to fry.”
  • The Pembina Trails school board got nowhere on a request the province provide divisions with locations and number of residents for group and foster homes within their borders.
  • Trustee Jackie Field said such students need additional services. But other trustees said students in care should not be singled out.

Winnipeg Free Press

Trustees want to see cameras placed on the exterior of school buses to catch drivers who blast past the flashing red stop sign.

The issue has raised particular concern in the Winnipeg area, however Mark Sefton of the Brandon School Division said there have been instances of neglectful drivers in the Wheat City as well.

"We do have it from time to time, it’s not a regular occurrence as far as I know," Sefton said.

"The heavier the traffic, the less inclined people are to put up with those petty annoyances and are more likely to drive through something like that."

Sefton said the province is generally very quick to respond to resolutions that involve student safety and said it’s a definite possibility buses will be equipped with cameras by September.

"I sure wouldn’t say there’s any guarantee of that, it depends on how things go through the system."

The resolution stated that the Manitoba School Board Association lobby the Province of Manitoba to consider implementing the use of exterior mounted cameras on school buses and provide funding for the related costs.

"There’s a huge, huge safety issue with people driving past school buses even when their flashing red lights are on and the stop sign is sticking out," he said. "That’s such a scary proposition thinking that some student someday is going to get run over because some totally irresponsible driver drove through a stop signal."

This is not the first time the issue has come up in the province.

A pilot project which had cameras on buses in the Seven Oaks School Division, two years ago, caught 70 drivers in a matter of days.

In 2011, the Interlake School Division went ahead with a plan to install cameras on its school buses despite reluctance from the province.

That project involved lobbying the government to change the Highway Traffic Act so drivers caught on the bus-mounted cameras could be ticketed through the photo-enforcement program.

"While we appreciate the intention behind this proposal, the province is not considering an expansion of photo enforcement," read a letter to the division from the government in 2011 in response to a request to allow for the automatic two-demerit enforcement.

The province is set to make a decision on the latest motion in the next six months.

Also included in the slew of resolutions at the conference was a demand from the River East Transcona trustees for the province to allow local trustees the authority to relocate school-based day care centres if schools need the space, which was overwhelmingly rejected.

» gbruce@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 18, 2013

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The Brandon School Division is on board with putting traffic cameras on school buses.

At the annual Manitoba School Boards Association convention in Winnipeg, which wrapped up on Saturday, trustees passed a motion to lobby the government to put cameras on school buses.

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The Brandon School Division is on board with putting traffic cameras on school buses.

At the annual Manitoba School Boards Association convention in Winnipeg, which wrapped up on Saturday, trustees passed a motion to lobby the government to put cameras on school buses.

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