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School transport hike plan not a done deal - yet
1:00pm Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
A TOWN Hall education boss says plans to hike the cost of school travel have not yet been agreed.
Grappenhall and Thelwall’s Clr Ted Finnegan and Appleton Clr Peter Walker both raised concerns over the consultation in questions at a full council meeting on Monday evening.
It comes after the council announced it was looking to axe most of the free transport on offer for pupils, with up to 1,206 children affected.
Among the parents most likely to be hit are those in Thelwall and Grappenhall who say there are no high schools close enough for their children to walk to.
Clr Colin Froggatt, executive member for children and young people’s services, (LAB – Poulton South) moved to allay the fears of parents raised by Clr Walker who said some were worried the decision had already been made.
Clr Froggatt said: “I know there are many worried people out there who are still trying to work out the transport review. There are information meetings right across the town which people can attend.
“That is the reason the consultation is taking place and ends on September 26. The results will be reported to the executive board in October.”
Clr Finnegan (LD – Grappenhall and Thelwall) also asked: “Why has Warrington Borough Council chosen to charge the young families of Grappenhall and Thelwall for getting their children by Warrington Borough Transport to Lymm High School when there is no closer school to send them to and there are some families with more than one child already at Lymm High School which will compound their school transport costs?”
But Clr Froggatt said the changes were part of plans from the previous coalition council administration.
He added: “One of the reasons why the council is having to make cuts to services is lack of funding.
“Home to school transport is not a statutory duty for this council. That was recognised by the then ruling parties in the council and this was included in their three-year medium term financial plan in 2011.
“The cuts in funding means the council must look at all areas of spending particularly when it provides help beyond its legal duties.”