Province slashes $1.4M grant for School District 60

The School District 60 is facing a major funding cut that could delay maintenance initiatives in schools across the district.

The province announced to school districts across the province that their Annual Facilities Grant will be cut.

Secretary Treasurer Doug Boyd says that means the School District 60 will be losing $1.4 million dollars.

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School boards across the province are fighting back, saying the decision was made without consultation with the Boards of Educations or the BC School Trustees.

Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says school boards were told last week to begin using money from their reserves.

But, school District #81 in Fort Nelson says they used all of their Annual Facilities Grant, and were depending on the previously promised funds.

In a letter explaining their situation, Board Chair Linda Dolen writes, "We now have to find these funds from within our operational funds, there is no doubt this will directly impact services to students."

Now, as for School District 60, Boyd says the board hasn’t had a chance to meet and discuss the implications of this large funding cut. He says the grant isn’t included in their $52 million operating budget. But, he says because this grant has been axed, the board might consider dipping into the district’s operating budget.

However, MacDiarmid says the Ministry will work with school boards in the event of an emergency.

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The Annual Facilities Grant provides funding for routine maintenance work for things like heating or cooling systems or roofing repairs.

As a result of this cut, MacDiarmid says, some workers might be laid-off because there isn’t any work in the school.

But, she says this cut will not affect janitorial work, or interfere with H1N1 preventative initiatives.

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