Kai­tan­gata school scores new wheels

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MARY-JO TOHILL

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.’’

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