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Posted: March 23, 2017

$1.6 million coming to region’s school districts

The provincial government this afternoon announced it is providing $1,634,850 to the two school districts in the East Kootenay, out of $95 million being spent province-wide, to extend the life of their facilities, put new supplies in classrooms and buy new school buses.

Every school district in the province is receiving a portion of this funding, which is being allocated through four provincial programs, a Ministry of Education press release stated.

Under the School Enhancement Program, all school districts will receive a portion of this year’s $53-million investment, supporting 223 school improvement projects. This program helps school districts extend the life of their facilities through of a variety of upgrade projects.

Every school district will also receive a portion of $27.4 million from the new Student Learning Grant, which was announced in February. Districts will use the funding to purchase classroom equipment and supplies such as textbooks, lab equipment and art supplies. Districts will begin back-to-school planning with parents and teachers now to determine how best to use the one-time funding to reduce costs for parents and help teachers deliver B.C.’s new curriculum, the ministry said.

Fifteen school districts, including Southeast Kootenay School District No. 5 (SD5), will become more energy efficient with a $5-million investment under the Carbon Neutral Capital Program.  School districts will use the money to fund projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions. These upgrades benefit schools by saving them money on electricity, natural gas and maintenance. Schools can put the money they save back into classrooms.

Students in 25 school districts, including Rocky Mountain School District No. 6 (SD6) will benefit from 71 new and replacement buses with a $9.4-million investment under the School Bus Replacement Program. The new buses will make traveling to school safer and more reliable for students.

SD5 is receiving $939,199, including $467,060 to upgrade roofing at Mount Baker Secondary School.

It is also getting a Student Learning Grant – $273,050; and $199,089 from the Carbon Neutral Capital Program for lighting upgrades at Elkford Secondary School (right).

SD6 is getting a total of $695,651, including $407,200 from the School Enhancement Program to upgrade roofing at Lady Grey Elementary School in Golden; a Student Learning Grant of $157,822 and $130,629 for one 76-passenger bus from the School Bus Replacement Program.

As a result of B.C.’s strong economy and balanced budget, the Government of British Columbia is able to support record funding increases for students and B.C.’s education system, the Education Ministry press release pointed out. “Budget 2017 commits an additional $740 million in operating funds over the next three years. Combined with $400 million in previously announced budget increases, this means an additional $1.1 billion in funding will benefit the K-12 system over the next three years. In addition, Budget 2017 supports $2 billion in capital spending to upgrade or build new schools over the next three years,” the release stated.

Education Minister Mike Bernier visiting Mount Baker Secondary School in 2016. e-KNOW file photo

“Through this suite of programs, we’re investing $95 million so that every school district can ensure students have the learning environment and tools they need to succeed,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education.

“These capital investments will help school districts save money, protect their assets and support student learning. I encourage every district to continue to take advantage of these programs to support their students and schools.

“I can’t wait to hear what exciting new learning resources will be coming to B.C. classrooms for next school year as a result of the new Student Learning Grant. Districts will be talking to teachers and parents to determine how they can best use the one-time funding to help bring the new curriculum to life and cut costs for families throughout the province.”

Lead image: Long noted to be near the top of the list for school replacements in the province, the elderly Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook will once again find its lifespan stretched – this time with $467,060 from the province to upgrade its roof.


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