N.B. government drops controversial bilingual school bus court case

The New Brunswick government is stepping away from its court cases concerning separate school bus systems for English and French students in the province.

A new policy released Wednesday says the responsibility will now be on the individual school districts, apparently closing the book on reviewing the controversial bilingual bus issue.

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READ MORE: Constitutional case over bilingual school busing in New Brunswick gets underway

The provincial government has withdrawn its request to the Court of Appeal to determine whether there is a constitutional obligation to provide separate school buses for English and French schools.

The province says the school districts will now be in charge of the transportation of their pupils as part of a Policy 514 within the education act.

Policy 514 will outline how district education councils can operate, including sharing services with other districts, or engaging private sector transportation providers in the process.

It will also repeal the regulatory requirement for districts to seek government approval before entering into transportation contracts with third parties.

READ MORE: New Brunswick French immersion returning to Grade one

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny said in a release that what government is implementing will clarify that pupil transportation rests in the hands of education councils, which are elected by the public, including parents.

Kenny also noted in the release that government previously hoped to get clarity on the bilingual bus issue, but says it’s clear the court of appeals is hesitant to rule on the reference question they posed.

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