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The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education, and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
December 20, 2019 - Issue 26

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Season’s Greetings and Sincere Best Wishes!
  2. OTE 2020 Registration Opens January 8th
  3. 2020 P.R.I.D.E. Program Dates
  4. Upcoming 2020 OSBA Webinar Dates
  5. School Boards Proposing 9:30 A.M. Start for Some Schools to Help Solve Busing Shortage
  6. Safe Fleet Demos Stop-Arm Tech on Anniversary of Fatal School Bus Crash
  7. Readers Nominate School Bus Drivers for 2020 ‘Hero’ Recognition
  8. From Zero to $60: Edmonton Parents Brace for Increases to School Bus Fees
  9. Order Your OSBA Publications Now!
  10. Upcoming Events
Season’s Greetings and Sincere Best Wishes!

On behalf of OSBA President Chris Harwood, the Board of Directors and contractors, we would like to take a moment during this busy time of year to extend warmest holiday greetings to all members, their staff and families, and to convey our sincerest appreciation for your confidence, support, and participation in the association throughout the past year. 

Wishing you the joy of family, the gift of friends, and a beautiful holiday season and New Year filled with much peace, happiness and prosperity.

All the best for a very healthy and safe holiday season.

OTE 2020 Registration Opens January 8th

As most members are aware, the Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) is a joint conference and trade show organized each year by representatives from the Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA), the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) and the Ontario School Bus Association (OBSA) as a unique opportunity for bus company employees, manufacturer/supplier organizations and others related to the bus transportation industry, to get together and explore better ways of serving their transportation customers in the future.

OTE 2020 will take place April 19th – 22nd in Toronto (ON), with the trade show happening Tuesday April 21st at the International Centre. The conference hotel will once again be the Delta Hotels Toronto Airport & Conference Centre. OTE registration will be opening on January 8, 2020 so be sure to mark your calendar and keep checking the OTE website at www.ote.ca for updates!

For further information please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team – abugeya@osba.on.ca or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4 or contact OTE directly at 416-229-6622 – info@ote.ca
2020 P.R.I.D.E. Program Dates

Please see below for the 2020 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program dates.  For 30 years, the P.R.I.D.E. Program has been providing fleet driver instructors with powerful, non-lecture adult training techniques and philosophies that resonate with new and seasoned drivers to encourage and sustain safe commercial driving habits.

2020 Regular P.R.I.D.E. Certification Program:

View the full 2020 Program Brochure
 here 
View the 2020 Registration Form here
  • February 9-14
  • March 15-20 (March break)
  • May 3-8
  • July 12-17
  • August 9-14
  • October 18-23
  • November 22-27
  • December 6-11
2020 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program:

View the full 2020 Recertification Program Brochure
 here
View the 2020 Recertification Registration Form here
  • January 22
  • April 15
  • June 6
  • August 15
  • October 7
For questions or more information - please visit http://www.osba.on.ca/programs or contact info@osba.on.ca
 
Upcoming 2020 OSBA Webinar Dates

OSBA conducts 4-5 webinars per year to assist in educating and informing members of timely and pertinent industry issues and initiatives.  These webinars provide excellent learning opportunities for school bus operators, transportation consortia, and supplier/manufacturer owners and staff from the comfort and convenience of individual offices, homes or anywhere with a computer and internet! These educational opportunities are offered on a complimentary basis to all OSBA members.

Mark Your Calendar:
  • February 12, 2020
  • March 25, 2020
  • May 27, 2020
  • October 7, 2020
For questions or more information - please visit http://www.osba.on.ca/webinars or contact Alex Bugeya at abugeya@osba.on.ca
School Boards Proposing 9:30 A.M. Start for Some Schools to Help Solve Busing Shortage

Full Article: CBC News
Article Date: December 18, 2019


Hamilton (ON) school boards are considering having some elementary and high school students start school as late as 9:30 a.m. in an attempt to combat a bus shortage that's plagued them for years. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) say a shortage of bus drivers has led to "daily late pick-ups and drop-offs" for 25-35 routes, impacting the amount of time students have in class to learn.

The boards say their joint study of school bell times has approved parameters that will lead to approximately 40 fewer buses on the road at a time and "eliminated the bus delays families experience." Those parameters look at the earliest and latest possible start and dismissal times and they could have a big impact on families. They include a potential earliest start time of 8 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. for secondary schools and elementary schools respectively and a latest start time of 9:30 a.m. Potential dismissal times vary.

The earliest optional dismissal time for public elementary and secondary schools is 2:30 p.m. while Catholic elementary schools could see 2:40 p.m. and secondary schools 2:15 p.m. The optional latest dismissal for public elementary schools is 3:50 p.m. for both Catholic and public elementary students with 3 p.m. proposed for public secondary students and 3:15 p.m. for Catholic high school students.

Those parameters are based on guiding principals from both boards which include the following:
  • It is "most important" for students to be on time for school.
  • Try to minimize changes to bell times.
  • Try to minimize the range for secondary schools so after school activities won't be impacted.
"With the pending expiration of bus operator contracts in 2021, it is incumbent upon both boards to realize significant efficiencies in order to mitigate against the possible 30 per cent increase in costs experienced by other school boards," said Patrick Daly, chair of the HWCDSB in the release. "The Bell Time Study is an important aspect of our efforts to continue to provide a safe and high level of transportation service to the students in our community."

The study is expected to be completed by the end of January. Families can expect to receive information about bell times at individual schools for September 2020 beginning in February.
Safe Fleet Demos Stop-Arm Tech on Anniversary of Fatal School Bus Crash

Full Article: School Bus Fleet
Article Date: December 11, 2019

  
Safety solutions supplier Safe Fleet hosted a demonstration of its Predictive Stop Arm (PSA) technology in Laurel (MS) on December 10th, the 10-year anniversary of a fatal school bus crash that killed a 5-year-old student. On the anniversary of Nathan Key’s death, his mother, Lori Key McJohnson, attended the demonstration in support of additional school bus safety and preventive measures, according to a news release from Safe Fleet. 

Since the 2009 accident, McJohnson has helped push through Nathan’s Law, which was passed in 2011. The law resulted in increased fines and penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses. Safe Fleet has since developed advanced technology for the danger zone to address school bus safety. The danger zone is the area extending 15 feet to the front, rear, and sides of the bus that poses the highest risk of children being struck by passing vehicles or their own bus.

The PSA solution uses radar technology and predictive analytics to monitor oncoming vehicle traffic for possible stop-arm violations, according to Safe Fleet. The technology is designed to help increase safety in the danger zone by aiming to notify the bus driver and students that it may not be safe to cross the street - before an accident occurs.

“The devastating event that impacted the Key family 10 years ago should never happen. Unfortunately, the illegal passing of stopped school buses, which creates incidents such as this, are still occurring every day,” said Mike Schulte, president of Safe Fleet. “Our PSA solution aims to save lives and pave the way towards a future of zero fatalities in school transportation-related injuries.”

Passing vehicles cause an estimated two-thirds of school bus loading and unloading fatalities, according to Safe Fleet. 

Meanwhile, Jones County Schools is the first district in the state of Mississippi to implement Safe Fleet’s PSA technology.

“No family should ever experience the loss of a child. We are hoping with the implementation of PSA, we will eliminate the possibility for accidents, such as Nathan’s, to ever occur in the district again,” said Tommy Parker, the superintendent of the district.
Readers Nominate School Bus Drivers for 2020 ‘Hero’ Recognition

Full Article: School Transportation News
Article Date: December 12, 2019


School bus drivers are responsible for transporting the nation’s most precious cargo to and from school daily, and these professionals rarely get the recognition they deserve.

School Transportation News (STN) issued a call to magazine and online readers this fall to nominate student transporters who have gone above and beyond the line of duty. STN editors reviewed the submissions with an eye for especially heroic actions performed by these employees during school bus operations.

STN received just over 40 nominations that shared insights of over 50 student transporters. STN editors chose several heroes to be profiled in the January 2020 magazine issue.

In the meantime, browse the full list of nominees from both Canada and the United States, here.
From Zero to $60: Edmonton Parents Brace for Increases to School Bus Fees

Full Article: CBC News
Article Date: December 17, 2019


With school bus fees set to rise by hundreds of dollars in the new year, Tia McAdam says her Edmonton (AB) family has some difficult decisions to make. She has already cut back on her twin daughters' choir and dance lessons in light of rising school fees. But McAdam says all extracurricular activities could be kiboshed to help pay for a three-fold hike in bus fees, approved recently by Edmonton Public School Board trustees. 

"That's what's heartbreaking," she said. "I hate the fact that they're doing nothing but homework and housework when they come from school. But, you know, I guess that's just the political climate right now." 

On Feb. 1, the cost to bus her daughters to Riverbend Junior High on a subsidized Edmonton Transit Service pass will increase from $19 to $60 a month. It takes about an hour for the Grade 7 students to make the seven-kilometre trip on transit. 

Trustees approved the increase, in reaction to the Alberta government's decision to eliminate the School Fee Reduction grant. That program was introduced by the NDP government to help offset the costs of 2017 legislation that prohibited school boards from charging bus fees to families living more than 2.4 kilometres from their designated school. 

In February, the monthly cost of a yellow bus for students from kindergarten up to Grade 6 will rise from zero to $33 a month for families living further than 2.4 kilometres. For older students, the monthly fee rises from zero to $60. Similar fees, also going into effect Feb. 1, were approved by the Edmonton Catholic School Division. Under its cost recovery program, the monthly cost of passes for students from kindergarten to grade 6 will be $33.50 per month. The cost for older students will be $56.50 per month. The public board was already facing a significant deficit for transportation services. The loss of the grant added another $5.3 million to the funding gap, for a total $7.7 million shortfall. 

"With the elimination of the grant, it means we're in a really tight financial position," said board chair Trisha Estabrooks. "The way in which our transportation network is set up is not sustainable and we've known that for a number of years now." 

In a statement, the Ministry of Education (AB) said it respects the autonomy of local school boards to make decisions on day-to-day matters. "As always, school boards will remain accountable to the parents of their students for any fees they choose to bring into force," acting spokesperson Jerrica Goodwin said. 

McAdam will likely end up driving her daughters to and from school, instead of doling out $120 a month for bus passes. It will mean taking more time off work, affecting her income from her job at a bank. Her husband travels regularly for work in the oil and gas industry. "I would really like to start thinking about the future not just getting through from one month to the next," she said. 

The school board expects to recoup $2.8 million this year from the February bus fee increases. The other $4.9 million will be covered by a surplus fund. But Estabrooks says it's "very likely" the board will have to consider another bus fee increase before the next school year. "I don't feel great about that, but that's the situation that we're in. When it comes to wanting to make sure that we direct as many dollars as possible into classrooms, that's going to be our priority right now," she said. The board will consult with families in the new year to determine what kind of services they want and how much they're willing to pay, Estabrook says.

The prospect of another bus fee increases starts to chip away at the definition of a truly public school system as parents struggle to make up the costs, says Michael Tryon, executive director of Canadian Parents for French Alberta, an organization that advocates for French-language education. 

"It comes from the food budget, it comes from, we don't go out for dinner, we don't get to do the fun things. Do the kids get to play sports? All those factors," said Tryon, who has a son in Grade 11. 

Roughly 105,000 students attend Edmonton Public Schools.
Order Your OSBA Publications Now!

Visit the OSBA website at www.osba.on.ca and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page to order the following OSBA publications. Or click on the links below and go directly to each order form:
Once you have completed the necessary order form, please scan/email it to info@osba.on.ca or fax it to 416-695-9977.
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
2020  
Jan. 22 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Feb. 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Feb. 12 OSBA Webinar
Mar. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Mar. 25 OSBA Webinar
Apr. 15 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Apr. 19-22 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 27-May 1 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
May 3-8 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 27 OSBA Webinar
June 6 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
July 12-17 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 15 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Oct. 7 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Oct. 7 OSBA Webinar
Oct. 18-23 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Nov. 22-27 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Dec. 6-11 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Copyright © 2019 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

Contact OSBA:
3075 Lenworth Drive, Mississauga, ON, L4X 2G3
Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977  
info@osba.on.ca | www.osba.on.ca
SUBMISSIONS WELCOME
Please address all enquiries and submissions to info@osba.on.ca  Opinions expressed do not necessarily express the opinions of the OSBA or its Board of Directors. Nor does acceptance of advertising constitute endorsement.






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