Funding supports better learning environments for B.C. students

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Students throughout British Columbia will benefit from safer, more efficient and comfortable schools, thanks to $198 million in maintenance funding for school districts.

“Students deserve to learn in schools that are well maintained and operating the way they should. That’s why we’ve boosted funding to these programs by more than $20 million over last year,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming. “We are supporting B.C. schools with this funding, so students, teachers and school district staff can focus their energy to where it matters most – in the classroom.”

Under the School Enhancement Program, all school districts will receive a portion of this year’s $65-million investment. The program is funding 176 separate projects that upgrade a wide range of building systems. For example, schools might receive mechanical upgrades to improve the heating, cooling and ventilation of classrooms, or safety upgrades to fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

Each year, the Carbon Neutral Capital Program funds $5 million for upgrades that cut greenhouse-gas emissions and boost energy efficiency. Three of the 19 schools receiving funding this year are using it to install solar panel systems.

This year’s $12.5-million investment under the School Bus Replacement Program is buying 93 new and replacement buses in 28 school districts. The replacement buses will make travelling to school safer and more reliable for students. The new buses will add to districts’ fleets, allowing them to better serve students with new routes.

These funding programs build on the Annual Facilities Grant (AFG), which flows to districts annually for routine school maintenance costs. This year, the total AFG is $115.5 million, an increase of $5 million over last year. This is the first increase to the AFG since 2004-05.

Many of the projects being funded through these programs will benefit schools by saving them money on electricity, natural gas, fuel and maintenance. Those savings can be reinvested in classrooms to support student learning.

“Our government recognizes that students will be better off in an education system that is properly resourced,” said Fleming. “Increasing the funding to these programs is the first step to address the backlog of school maintenance in this province.”

For a backgrounder, Provincial funding programs support B.C. schools, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Provincial_funding_supports_BC_schools.pdf