VERNON - Funding announcements from the provincial government for local school districts are welcome news, but they may not be quite as good as they seem.
School districts across B.C. learned today, May 31, they will not have to pay their share of $25 million worth of provincial charges this year, and can instead redirect that money into frontline services for students, such as hiring new teachers, supporting programs or maintaining schools despite falling enrolment.
The Vernon School District will save roughly $382,500 and secretary-treasurer Sterling Olson says it's a welcome announcement.
“It’s always good news to receive extra money,” Olson says.
The province had previously called on school districts to find administrative savings — cuts outside the classroom — of $25 million altogether for the 2016-2017 school year. Now, they won’t have to.
“Basically, think of it as you had a mortgage and somebody said you don’t have to make your payments for this one year,” Olson says. “It’s a one-time reprieve.”
The problem is the savings aren’t continuous, but are for one year only, Olson says.
“It’s difficult to put programs and services back into place for one year if you can’t sustain them. While it’s great, and districts always appreciate having additional money, we’ll have to find ways to make use of this one-time money,” Olson says.
The district will be putting some options together over the next month and the board of education is expected to discuss how to use the money at a meeting June 22.
The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District received roughly $302,200 in savings.
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