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Considered part of Sydney's metropolitan area, the Central Coast has been part of St Lucy’s drawing area for many years. Many parents of children with special needs make a decision that St Lucy’s is the school of choice for their child’s education.
The Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) has historically provided transport for our students from the Central Coast. However, in 2017 the department decided to no longer provide transport for new applications from the Central Coast.
The Department of Education and Communities (DEC) ASTP service has two guidelines regarding the distance and time travelled. While the Central Coast students are outside the general maximum 'distance criteria', they fall well within the 'time criteria'.
St Lucy’s School staff, parents and the local member of parliament for Ku-ring-gai, Mr Alister Henskens MP SC, made two appeals to the DEC to reconsider the refusal of these applications. Unfortunately, these appeals were unsuccessful.
In direct response to the DEC’s decision, St Lucy's School has provided a bus service to assist families affected. There is a considerable cost involved with this service, including two salaries (bus driver and teacher's aide), vehicle maintenance and petrol costs. While some families are eligible for the Transport NSW School Drive Subsidy, there is still a gap of around $50,000 to be fundraised each year.
Due to this expense, students' parents are undertaking yearly fundraising initiatives in order to defray the costs. As with all parents, these parents have explored the options available for their child and have chosen St Lucy’s as being the school that best meets their child’s needs and their aspirations, and hence they have made a choice about the best place to educate their child.