Yarriambiack Shire kindergarten students overlooked; school bus routes close

SCHOOL buses in Yarriambiack Shire are again under threat as kindergarten children are being overlooked.

Public Transport Victoria axed a bus route in the Warracknabeal district at the end of last year.

The Wilkur-Warracknabeal bus service ended on December 21.

Community services manager Gavin Blinman said there had since been issues with other school buses in the shire.

“A number of bus routes are under threat and some more have closed,” he said.

“Our issue is that kindergarten children are not counted as numbers and yet they are next year’s primary children.

“We want to make sure students can get to school and kinder.”

Public Transport Victoria administered the school bus network under the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development policy, which governs eligibility to travel. 

Cr Ray Kingston said kinder children not being counted on buses defied logic.

“They don’t retire from their education after they finish kinder,” he said.

Mr Blinman said he was continually gobsmacked by the decision.

He said he would meet with the education department representatives later this month in a bid to save the shire’s school buses.

“The department in Ballarat has been very supportive and has organised a meeting,” he said.

Mayor Andrew McLean said it was important kinder children were able to get to kinder.

“It can be a long trip for some parents to run them in and back out again,” he said.

“If this is going to cause school bus routes to close, then it is an issue.

“We need at least the four-year-olds to be counted.

“Hopefully the department responsible sees a bit of merit in what Gavin is presenting to them.”

Council upgraded Hopetoun Kindergarten earlier this month.

“With Hopetoun Kindergarten open, we want to make sure children can get there,” Mr McLean said.

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