School districts get $3 million in maintenance funding
The B.C. Ministry of Education March 9 announced that school districts will receive record annual maintenance funding this year.
The provincial government is allocating $217.7 million, with just over $3 million coming to the East Kootenay’s two school districts.
“Tackling climate change is critically important for all of us, and our school system can play a part in helping cut carbon pollution,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why we’ve significantly increased maintenance funding to help districts better maintain schools, improve energy efficiency and work to provide the best possible learning environments for students.”
This year’s funding is $32.3-million higher than it was in 2016-17. It includes an additional $12.2 million from CleanBC that will give school districts more resources through the Carbon Neutral Capital Program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide operating cost savings from energy efficiencies. This can include adding solar panels, high efficiency boilers and LED lighting upgrades to schools, as well as installing electric vehicle charging stations.
CleanBC is government’s plan to reduce carbon pollution and build a cleaner economy for people throughout B.C., through approximately $1.3 billion in provincial funding over four years.
“All youth deserve a brighter future and that’s what CleanBC is about,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We’re working with school districts throughout the province to create healthier learning environments for students and modelling a more secure future through energy efficient buildings and transportation options.”
To further support green energy initiatives, school districts will now have the option to purchase electric school buses through the Bus Acquisition Program. This new initiative helps school districts switch to zero-emission, clean-energy vehicles.
“B.C. is leading the country in transitioning to electric vehicles, and our government is supporting that movement wherever we can,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Helping school districts invest in electric buses contributes not only to a cleaner environment, but also a healthier space for students.”
The 2020-21 Bus Acquisition Program provides $13 million for 31 school districts to buy 101 new buses, including up to 15 electric buses. Districts that buy electric buses will also have access to provincial funding for charging station infrastructure.
From that, Southeast Kootenay School District (No. 5) and Rocky Mountain School District (No. 6) are getting one new bus apiece.
Along with the new CleanBC funding, the Carbon Neutral Capital Program is providing $17.2 million to school districts for 67 energy efficient projects this year.
“On behalf of the more than 30,000 CUPE members who work to make our public schools safe, welcoming and inclusive for all students, I welcome this record level of investment from the provincial government, and we applaud the decision that savings that flow from improved energy efficiency can be directed to classrooms to support student learning,” stated CUPE BC president Paul Faoro.
List of Minor Capital Projects Approved for 2020/21
Southeast Kootenay School District (SD 5) – Total $1,587,903
- Electrical System upgrades at Mount Baker Secondary School
- Mechanical System Upgrades at Mount Baker Secondary
- Roof replacement at Elkford Elementary
- One new bus
- Building Envelope upgrade and construction of an Accessible Entrance at Nicholson Elementary
- Electrical System upgrades at David Thompson Secondary School
- Boiler upgrade at Marysville Elementary
- LED lighting upgrade at Lady Grey Elementary
- One new bus
Lead image: Elkford Elementary School is to get a roof replacement. e-KNOW file photos