School District 54 (SD54) is bussing teachers from Smithers to Houston in a pilot project designed to address hiring and retention issues in the district.
For years, many teachers have made the drive from Smithers to Houston to get to their schools. It is up to an hour commute one way, and, in the winter, can be much longer and a treacherous trek.
It has long been a reason teachers did not want to teach in Houston. They felt they couldn’t handle the commute every day, nor the cost of fuel and maintenance of their vehicles.
Therefore the school district is providing a surplus activity bus to a group of teachers who make the commute to Houston daily. Two teachers have agreed to drive the bus and SD54 is covering fuel and maintenance costs.
According to Dave Margerm, secretary/Treasurer for district, the idea originated for a few reasons;
“To support recruitment of teaching staff to work in Houston given the challenges of hiring teachers for schools in Houston, also to provide a safer transportation system during periods of poor weather for teachers with concerns about winter drive.”
Margerm also noted the district and school board want to move towards becoming a greener and more environmental organization.
Eight to 12 teachers are currently taking advantage of the program.
“I am told those using the service are very happy,” he said.
The district and board will look at the program at the end of the year to determine if it is something that should run on a permanent basis.