Robin Leslie greets her daughter Abby, 6, after school. Abby will now be picked up by a school bus near the family’s home in Glendale Mobile Home Park. (FILE PHOTO)
A Brandon mother’s battle to get her six-year-old daughter on a school bus was granted a happy ending during Monday night’s school board meeting.
Trustees voted unanimously in favour of making an exception to the Brandon School Division busing policy to provide transportation for Robin Leslie’s daughter Abby, who attends Kirkcaldy Heights School.
Starting in the next couple of days, a school bus will pick up Abby near the family’s home in Glendale Mobile Home Park, which is located 1.3 kilometres away from her school.
The board policy is tied to Manitoba guidelines indicating that students must live 1.6 kilometres away from their school to qualify for a seat on a school bus.
"I feel like the world’s been lifted off my shoulders," Leslie said following the meeting. "It’s a lot of stress to go through."
Leslie said she has been trying to work with the BSD over the past couple months on getting Abby on a bus. Leslie previously told the Sun she first filed for an exception to the board’s policy, which was then transferred to the division’s facilities and transportation committee for review.
But after determining the distances involved, the board confirmed the division policy of 1.6 kilometres was tied to provincial funding. It also noted in meeting minutes that "the division does not receive funds from the province for bused students who live within the 1.6 km distance from their school."
Board vice-chairperson Jim Murray commended Leslie and her family for appealing the committee’s decision to get their daughter a spot on a bus despite receiving several "no’s" from the school division.
Leslie said the bus will start picking up Abby at an office near their home, making it much easier situation for their family. Leslie has been relying on her mother-in-law to drive Abby to school since the hours she works makes it difficult to do it herself.
"I’ve very happy," Leslie said. "I’m glad I took it this far."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 15, 2014