SELB’s £1.75m school taxi bill

Education taxi bill has lowereed
Education taxi bill has lowereed

Just over £1.75m was paid out last year to cover the cost of taking children to school by taxi in the Southern Education and Library Board area, which includes the Dungannon District.

The figures, which were released last week at the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Department of Education, show that the local education board’s bill was the second highest in Northern Ireland after the Western Education and Library Board’s £2m bill.

However, the figure is down from a high of £1.9m in 2008.

In the past, politicians have expressed alarm over the amount of money being spent by the boards and called for the education minister to review transport provision.

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has said he was shocked by taxi bills and questioned whether more economical alternatives could be provided.

According to the department, in determining the mode of transport for pupils, education and library boards are expected to have regard to both the efficient use of resources and any specific needs which a pupil may have.

“Education and Library Boards provide taxi services for two groups - pupils with statements of Special Educational Needs that specify the provision of a taxi and those who live on routes where there are insufficient numbers to make bus travel an economic proposal”, said a spokesperson.