School District 47 is receiving almost $1 million in provincial government funding for facilities upgrades and maintenance at two schools.
“This grant money is in support of our capital plan submission we remitted last June, I believe,” said district secretary-treasurer Steve Hopkins. “The work, although important and needed, isn't urgent but rather part of our planning cycle.”
Brooks Secondary School and Kelly Creek Community School will receive a total of $370,000 from BC Ministry of Education’s School Enhancement Program. The money has been earmarked for electrical and mechanical system upgrades at Brooks, and for electrical upgrades at Kelly Creek.
The Annual Facilities Grant, which is put toward routine school maintenance costs, will be raised to $604,278 for School District 47, an increase of approximately $26,000 in the 2017/2018 budget.
“On both counts, it is important and necessary funds for our public education system,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.
Powell River’s district school system is one of 60 public education authorities in BC.
The Brooks and Kelly Creek projects are among 176 being funded, and the two schools’ facility improvements will affect energy use through efficiencies in electrical, mechanical and maintenance systems in efforts to reach carbon-neutral capital targets.
“As for other schools, we have work planned in those as well, just nothing as part of this particular funding envelope,” said Hopkins. “I expect to have a plan for summer work at all sites before the board sometime later in the spring with the majority of the work being undertaken this summer.”
In a statement, Simons said schools will be safer and learning conditions will be better as a result of the building improvements.
“It's all funding the school boards have been seeking in order to keep our facilities as expected in our public school system,” stated Simons.
Sunshine Coast and Powell River school districts are receiving $3.5 million in total funding. The NDP government has increased school maintenance funding by more than $20 million over last year.
“If this announcement came without any additional funding for teachers and learning conditions, that would be one thing, but this is in addition to the largest single investment in public education history,” said Simons. “Take them together and it reinforces the government's commitment to our education system.”