Ile-a la-Crosse School Division, in northern Saskatchewan, has decided to sell off its fleet of school buses and contract out bus services to a private bus operator.

“The evidence from other school divisions shows that contracting-out is more expensive and is less accountable to the community,” said Tony Head, CUPE servicing representative for Local 4607. “Once the school division sells its buses, it has no control over price increases.”

A study by the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association reviewed bus transportation costs in the province and found that contracted services were about 18 per cent higher than the cost of board-owned buses. Recently, the Chinook School Division in southwest Saskatchewan announced it was purchasing 22 buses from Rilling Bus this June and taking over bus operation in the city of Swift Current.

The local is also concerned about the six members who will be laid off.

“We are concerned about the loss of decent paying jobs in the community,” said Head. “CUPE will continue to advocate for strong public services in our communities, and for an education system that puts students first.

CUPE represents over 8,000 education workers in the province of Saskatchewan. This includes 34 members at the Ile-a la-Crosse School Division who are represented by CUPE 4607.