East City students in Peterborough to be transported to Lakefield in 2019-20

The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) was faced with a decision Tuesday night that would impact more than 300 students: should pupils from King George Public School in East City be bused to Ridpath Junior Public School in Lakefield?

It’s a distance of 15 kilometers, but a bus ride that can be to an hour long for some kids.

Opened in 1913, King George is being replaced with a new $18 million school that’s scheduled to be ready by September 2020. Since it’s being built on the same site on Hunter Street, the board decided to transport all 335 students to Lakefield during construction.

In the end, the board voted unanimously in favour of the plan to bus students to Ridpath. Before that happened, though, Jennifer Pendrith voiced concern for her seven-year-old daughter, who attends King George.

“I’d like to suggest that the board reconsider its plan….due to safety concerns associated with travel on County Roads 29 and 32 and Highway 28,” she said.

“There will always be a risk of transportation, whether it’s a bus on the road or a personal vehicle on the road,” responded school board chairperson Diane Lloyd. “Our bus drivers do the best they can to keep our students safe and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to do this.”

Other alternatives were looked at, but Ridpath seemed to be the best fit. It has been vacant since 2017 and needs just a few upgrades to make it ready for students.

“We try as much as we can to keep the student body together,” Lloyd said. “These kids are together now and they’ll be out of their school for a year.

“When they come back they’re going to be together again, so this serves that purpose.”

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