This is in regard to the school bus issue in Atikokan. This is a bus that is used solely for field trips on a standby basis and not for a regular run.
I am writing this letter primarily as a taxpayer first and a bus driver second.
As a former school board bus driver, I was unaware of a school bus being left to operate in Atikokan. I lost my job with them when they decided to get out of the business some five years ago.
I find it very unfair for these teachers to be driving this bus and denying the true professionals of Atikokan a job (ones who drive on a daily basis).
The average driver does about three or four hours per day, and depends on these field trips. I am quite sure these teachers do not take a cut in salary as a teacher when driving.
We of the so-called mediocre schools in the other parts of Rainy River District object to the extra taxes that will be incurred for the special purchase of a new school bus that no other schools in the district have available to them.
I believe every school should be on an equal basis.
This bus, along with fuel costs, insurance, etc., is a big expense for taxpayers of Rainy River District with limited benefits for the students of Atikokan.
As for having equipment in the bus, I have never had a problem with it as long as it was stored safely. I would not allow unsafe articles like saws, axes, or snowshoes, etc. to be left where they will endanger someone in case of an accident.
I have transported, and will continue to transport, students to Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, and, yes, Minneapolis.
Yours for safety
School bus driver
Fort Frances, Ont.