Monday, March 9, 2009

Who Owns the New Vehicles at Bathurst High School? Not the Department of Education!

You TubeWe tried to find out who owns the new multifunction buses at Bathurst High School but we didn't have much success with the Department of Education's media spokesperson, Ron White.

He didn't know who would own the multifunctional buses and told me that it could be the Department of Transportation. This seems like a pretty basic issue and we were surprised that he did not know who owned the vehicles.

He did know that they would be registered in the name of the Province of New Brunswick, because that's what it says in the new Policy.

About the only good thing we have to say about the new Policy 512 is found in section 6.14, that all regular maintenance on extra-curricular activity vehicles shall be performed at a Department of Transportation or DOT-approved facility.

This is one of the changes we have been asking the Department of Education for since August, 2008. We are pleased that the Department added this to the new Policy 512.

Interestingly, however, neither the Departments of Education or Transportation intend to pay for the maintenance and inspections. According to Section 6.12, the schools will pay through their fundraising efforts. "School-raised funds are required to cover costs associated with the operation and maintenance of extra-curricular activity vehicles."

Isabelle Hains and Ana Acevedo in front of the new multifunctional buses at Bathurst High School, March 7, 2009These are the brand new multifunctional vehicles in Bathurst that were donated after the terrible crash last year that killed our sons Javier and Daniel.

They are excellent vehicles and we hope other schools will be able to fundraise enough money to buy similar ones. But we still want to know who, in the end, is going to own these new vehicles? One would think that if the schools fundraise the money to buy or maintain them, that the schools would own the vehicles. And if the schools are part of the Department of Education, than it wouldn't be a leap to think that the Department of Education owns the vehicles, would it?

Many people are surprised to find out that the 15 passenger van in which our sons were killed that night was owned by a for-profit company called Bathurst Van Inc. that was headed by a Board of Directors including the Bathurst High School principal, two vice-principals and a school teacher. We understand that these for-profit companies will no longer own vehicles to transport children. If that's the case, who owns these new multifunctional buses if the Departments of Education or Transportation do not?