Kaitangata school scores new wheels
Have minibus – will travel: Kaitangata Primary School has just purchased its own vehicle, to not only get pupils out and about, but for children to get to and from school.
Kaitangata Primary School principal Anneta Payne said the idea had been in the pipeline for a while for two main reasons. Firstly, with working parents, the school was finding it increasingly difficult to get children to sporting events and outings.
‘‘We’ve been laughing and joking about how convenient a bus would be for about three years, but the laughing and joking became a bit more serious recently.’’
Initially, the school board looked at a second-hand van. However, thanks to a grant from the Trusts Community Foundation, and some funds the board had tucked away, the school was able to purchase a Toyota Hiace minibus, for about $60,000.
It can seat 11 children, and at the moment, driving duties are shared by staff members, including Payne herself.
Secondly, the purchase meant the school could pick-up and dropoff children who live off the usual bus routes, or who had moved from Kaitangata, but still wanted to attend the school.
‘‘It does provide an element of choice for people,’ Payne said.
School children living at Inch Clutha and Wangaloa were on a bus service, but not those on the Lakeside Rd side of Kaitangata, or pupils who had moved to Balclutha.
Kaitangata Primary School does not have an after school pro- gramme, so having its own minibus means Kai kids can also attend the Out of School Care and Recreation programme - Oscar, at Balclutha.
A South Otago High School Ritchies bus runs between Kaitangata and Balclutha, with special waivers and conditions for children attending other Balclutha primary schools. Having its own minibus also protected the school roll, Payne said.
‘‘Every school if they’re honest have that sitting in the back of their minds.’’
The roll was sitting at just 99 pupils, with the capability of fill- ing another three classrooms, she said. At the moment, the bus is picking up about five children who live in Balclutha and several other local children who are not currently served with a bus run.
‘‘The children that have moved would put a dint in the roll if they couldn’t attend.’’