School bus decision shocks rural families

Mothers Anna Fay and Liza Alexander, holding her daughter Claire, and their children, from left, Rose Alexander, Jack, Sophie and Ruby Fay and Sam Alexander are unhappy with a State Government decision to make families at Cressy and Weering pay for school bus travel to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

Three Colac district families are hoping common sense will prevail after the Department of Education told them they could no longer receive free school bus travel.

The department has told the Cressy area families they were unable to receive free bus travel to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Colac because St Brendan’s Catholic Primary School at Coragulac was their closest school.

The change would force the families to drive their children the half an hour to and from school each day because there isn’t a bus available between Cressy and Coragulac.

All three of the young families are dairy farmers and would struggle to find time to drive their children to school.

The Nelson, Fay and Alexander families from Cressy and Weering each have two children attending St Mary’s Primary School in Colac and at least one more child to start in coming years.

Each family has a child who started in Grade Prep this year and they have managed to get the department to waive the school bus fees for the duration of those children’s schooling.

But the department has told the families they will have to pay for school bus travel for their children starting school after this year.

St Brendan’s is only six kilometres closer to the Fay family’s property at Cressy than St Mary’s and is only six kilometres closer to Weering where the Nelsons live.

Genna Nelson said that bus fees were a major factor when she and her husband Nick were deciding on a school for their children.

“We’ve got four kids so in the long run that sort of equals out to a bit of money and we really love the school as well,” Genna said.

“We didn’t even have St Brendan’s in our mind, we didn’t even think of that, it’s not our community, we live nowhere near it and no bus goes there anyway,” she said.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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One Response to “School bus decision shocks rural families”

  1. Caroline McEwan

    In regards to the front page article “School bus decision shocks rural families”…. I think it is necessary to give a broader picture to this story. I too live in Weering but have chosen to sent my children to the local state primary school, Beeac Primary School. The school bus picks up and delivers my children from our farm gate, without any cost. This school is by far the closest school for all your families mentioned in this article. I do believe in families being able to chose the school that they think will best suit their children’s need. I also believe families should be able to chose to send their children to a religious-bases school without paying for a school bus. However, rural schools (both state and catholic) need local families to support them, otherwise these small schools will close and the “choice” that we all proclaim to want will be lost as our small rural schools close their doors.