(Carli Berry/Capital News)

School district receives unexpected funding

The B.C. government announced Sunday that the government is giving $29.4 million to school districts

The Central Okanagan School District received some unexpected funding.

The B.C. government announced Sunday that the government is giving $29.4 million for a “back-to-school-boost for B.C. classrooms.”

The one-time-only grant will go toward purchasing supplies that will reduce costs for parents, said the release.

Based on the amount of students enrolled in the district, the amount for the Central Okanagan is around $1.1 million.

“It’s always good news when you suddenly hear there’s extra money… It’s not bad news however it doesn’t alleviate the ongoing budget pressures,” said school board chairperson Moyra Baxter.

Last year, the school district proposed cuts to the district’s technology services in order to save money.

See story on budget cuts

Baxter said school board members were made aware of the extra money last Friday, but didn’t know the amount until Sunday.

”Schools can use the one-time funding to purchase a wide range of supplies for schools and classrooms – everything from textbooks, hands-on learning tools and computer programs, to athletic equipment, art supplies and lab equipment. They can decide what types of learning supplies to purchase, giving them flexibility to meet the local needs of parents, students and teachers,” said the release.

Baxter said the board has yet to discuss where the funding will go, but it will be on the agenda for the Feb. 22 regular board meeting.

“What we have to do is say, ‘how do we spend this money?’ Each school district is going to decide where’s our greatest need. We’ve had no

“Thanks to our strong economy and fiscal management, we are finishing the year in a really good position. I can think of no better way to take advantage of the available year-end funding than by investing in our students and classrooms,” said Minister of Education Mike Bernier in the release.

The Student Learning Grant will fund new classroom supplies at a rate of about $50 per public school student.

This announcement builds on the government’s $5.1-billion funding to B.C. public schools in 2016-17.

Other funding initiatives include a $250 back-to-school tax credit for parents, $6 million to train teachers on coding, a $14.7 million Student Transportation Fund and $50 million to go towards the hiring of new teachers.