Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has called on the Education Minister to urgently clarify the situation regarding the school transport scheme. A review of the scheme has been ongoing for a number of months, and parents are worried that their children will miss out on places as a result of new changes.
Deputy Scanlon explained, “I have had a number of parents contacting me, anxious that their children will not get a place on the school bus this year. Students who previously were allocated concessionary seats are particularly worried, while others fear they may lose out because of changes to the school bus route.
“I have one family who are facing the prospect of moving both their teenagers, who are due to sit State exams this year, to new schools because they will no longer qualify for the scheme if they remain at their current school. This is deeply unfair and will result in unnecessary stress and upheaval for the students and their parents.
“I am also dealing with a case whereby parents narrowly missed a deadline for payment for the scheme for their two children, and despite meeting all the eligibility criteria, they had the money returned to them and were informed that the seats had been allocated to concessionary students. This situation could be easily remedied and I am pleading with Ministers Bruton and Halligan to allow common sense to prevail.
“The school transport scheme is an essential part of school life in rural communities across Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Cavan and the uncertainty that has been allowed build up over the past few months has been a major source of stress for students and parents alike.
“Fianna Fáil has always fully recognised the important role of the School Transport Scheme and consistently raised concerns when the review was first announced. We should be encouraging the use of school transport, not penalising people who want to sign up to it.
“Minister Halligan needs to ensure that the assurances he gave about places on the School Transport Scheme earlier this year are upheld – and I along with my party colleagues will be keeping the pressure on him and Minister Bruton so that every child who is entitled to a seat on the school bus has one this August”.