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The Rainy River District School Board will hold three public consultations after its transportation committee recently revised the district transportation policy and now seeks public opinion on the changes.

“It gives people a chance to review the draft that we’ve made up recently,” noted trustee Dan Belluz, who also sits on the transportation committee.

The board has made it clear that while the change in policy is not radically different from the way it was under the previous school board, given the sometimes “controversial” nature of the transportation issue, public consultation was only natural.

“Everyone wants their say, and we’re willing to hear,” remarked board chair Dennis Brunn. “It’s always good to consult with the public.”

The greatest change contained in the policy is the equalization of the 1.6 km and 3.2 km walking distances across the district for elementary and secondary students respectively.

Previously, the distances under the old Fort Frances-Rainy River board were four km for secondary students and two km for elementary students so the proposed revision marks an improvement for this end of the district.

But walking distances for students under the previous Atikokan Board of Education were .5 km for students in grades JK to three and one km for those in grades four to eight.

The distances for secondary students there were less hard and fast, with students coming from farther locations such as Eva Lake.

The transportation committee already has met with several school councils and bus drivers while making the revisions, making the public consultations a final step before the policy is finalized by the board.

The first of the consultations will take place March 22 at 7 p.m. at Donald Young School in Emo.

The others will be held March 29 at Atikokan High School and April 1 in the board office at Robert Moore School here. Both those also will begin at 7 p.m.

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